South Africa 17.7.2017 12:33 pm

Suspension of water and sanitation DG alarming – MPs

Water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane addresses members of the media during a briefing at the Rand Water offices in Johannesburg, 04 October 2016, announcing further water restrictions to be implemented on Gauteng municipalities due to a strained Vaal River system as a result of low rain fall. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane addresses members of the media during a briefing at the Rand Water offices in Johannesburg, 04 October 2016, announcing further water restrictions to be implemented on Gauteng municipalities due to a strained Vaal River system as a result of low rain fall. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The suspension of the director-general brings the number of senior management services members suspended at the department to five.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on water and sanitation on Monday described the notice of suspension served on department director-general Dan Mashitisho as alarming.

The water and sanitation ministry announced on Sunday that Mashitisho was given notice of intention to suspend, subject to him providing reasons as to why he should not be suspended.

“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,” said committee chairperson Mlungisi Johnson.

“The achievement of performance targets will also be at risk with so many drivers of the department’s strategy on suspension.”

Johnson said the current state of affairs at the department was “undesirable”.

In a statement on Sunday, Nomvula Mokonyane’s office said the matter regarding Mashitisho was confidential.

Mokonyane’s statement followed a report in City Press earlier on Sunday, saying Mokonyane had suspended Mashitisho after barely six months on the job.

Mokonyane, who appointed Mashitisho in December, “axed him this week, accusing him of a litany of charges”, including failing to appear before the water and sanitation portfolio committee in parliament on June 7; “casting the minister’s integrity in poor light” following his interaction with the water and sanitation portfolio committee and the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa); failing to finalise the terms of reference regarding investigations into various tenders in the department; and failing to prepare for a meeting, last month, during which the department met Treasury to discuss its finances, the newspaper reported.

Mokonyane’s department has of late come under fire from MPs after it racked up R2.5 billion in irregular expenditure in the 2015/16 financial year, identified by the Auditor-general as being one of the biggest offenders when it came to irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

 

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