Parliament committee 'alarmed' by planned suspension of Water and Sanitation DG

17 July 2017 - 12:49 By Ernest Mabuza
Nomvula Mokonyane
Nomvula Mokonyane
Image: Sunday Times

The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation says it is alarmed by media reports of the planned suspension of the Director-General of the Department of Water and Sanitation‚ Dan Mashitisho.

It said the planned suspension of the DG was alarming in the context of other senior managers suspended at the department.

“The suspension of the DG brings to five the number of senior management services members suspended at the department‚ which does not bode well for corporate governance at the department. The achievement of performance targets will also be at risk with so many drivers of the department’s strategy on suspension‚” committee chairman Mlungisi Johnson said.

Johnson said while the committee did not want to preempt internal investigations by the department‚ it was of the view that the current state of affairs at the department was undesirable.

The committee called for the urgent processing and finalisation of all disciplinary processes involving senior managers at the department to ensure that governance and strategic structures were revitalised.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane announced at the weekend that she had given Mashitisho a notice of intention to suspend him.

She said Mashitisho should provide her with reasons why he should not be suspended on transgressions considered serious by the minister.

Ministerial spokesman Mlimandlela Ndamase did not give reasons for the planned suspension.

He said adherence to the principles of confidentiality was critical so as not to tarnish Mashitisho’s integrity.

However‚ City Press reported on Sunday that Mokonyane cited‚ as reasons for her intention to suspend Mashitisho‚ his failure to finalise the terms of reference regarding investigations into various tenders in the department.

The newspaper said the real reason‚ according to two senior executives within the department‚ was Mashitisho’s refusal to sign a letter authorising a law firm to start work at the department.

The newspaper said Mokonyane wanted the law firm to be handpicked without following the proper procurement process‚ to probe a number of contracts in the department.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) chairman Themba Godi said the intention to suspend Mashitisho pointed to a conflict of interest with his political principal.

“There is an orchestrated campaign to remove (South African Social Security Agency CEO) Mr (Thokozani) Magwaza just as we have seen the suspension of two Director-Generals in the Departments of Water Affairs and Sanitation (Mr Dan Mashitisho) and Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries (Mr Mike Mlengana) all in circumstances that point to conflicts of interest with their political principals‚” Godi said in a statement.