South Africa 3.6.2014 11:00 am

Ramphele in CEO scandal

FILE PICTURE: Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele. Picture: Alaister Russell

FILE PICTURE: Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele. Picture: Alaister Russell

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has been accused of turning a blind eye to the improper appointment of Simphiwe Duma, the axed CEO of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

Duma was appointed as TIA chief executive officer in 2010 in what many agency insiders viewed as an unprocedural practice.

Insiders claimed Duma was not subjected to an adequate assessment test prior to the appointment.

At the time, Ramphele was the chairperson of the agency’s board which – according to sources – interviewed Duma and sanctioned his appointment.

Duma was dismissed at the end of March after the science and technology department released a damning forensic report on TIA’s activities, revealing acts of nepotism, wasteful expenditure and possible corruption.

Ramphele spoke up against corruption, nepotism and patronage at many rallies while campaigning for her party.

However, some of TIA’s staffers this week claimed she ignored the requests of many people in the agency to have Duma’s appointment reviewed.

In terms of the TIA Act, the CEO is appointed by the minister of science and technology upon the recommendation of the board after interviewing the candidates.

The Citizen saw a copy of an e-mail sent by a whistleblower and former TIA senior staff member to Ramphele. Dated July 29, 2010, she questioned why Duma was not subjected to a thorough assessment process. The same whistleblower, who asked not to be named, sent another e-mail dated August 26, 2010 to Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, informing the minister she had been suspended from TIA for questioning Duma’s appointment.

“The TIA fired me in June 2012 for raising the matter with the minister,” said the former staffer.

Her first letter to Ramphele reads, in part: “I feel the assessment process has been limited. I suggest that he be at least sent for a competency assessment before we make a final decision.”

One of the current TIA board members also sent an e-mail to Ramphele voicing her concerns about Duma’s appointment.

The member’s letter, dated July 27, 2010, reads, in part: “My view would be informed by the candidate’s (Duma) potential to direct and inspire the rest of the TIA executive. I must admit this potential was not evident. However, if you confirm the selection process was robust enough to support a positive recommendation for Simphiwe Duma, I will commit myself to supporting his success.”

Agang spokesperson Mark Peach said Ramphele neither acted improperly nor benefited from practices uncovered at the agency.

Duma was not available for comment.

 

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