JOHANNESBURG- A complaint lodged with the Office of the Public protector details how billions were stolen from Department of Public Works under the stewardship of Minister Thulas Nxesi who is also accused of benefiting directly from the looting.
The dossier details the irregular appointment of scores of teachers, mostly SADTU and SACP members who were tasked with managing highly-skilled engineers and project managers in the Department of Public Works, triggered the exodus of many skilled technicians.
Mkhwebane’s spokesman Oupa Segalwe confirmed that Mkhwebane had received the complaint. “We can confirm that the public protector received a complaint against minister Nxesi on 11 March from an anonymous complainant. She is investigating the matter,” Segalwe said.
The 44-page dossier, written by an anonymous former engineer in the Department of Public Works, accuses former Public Works Minister Nxesi, now Minister of Employment and Labour of among others being a serial womaniser who preyed on women in his department, some of who were married, whom he rewarded with senior positions in the department.
“I get so upset when this minister of Public Works, Hon Thulas Nxesi and his friends when they are drunk, they boast about what they are doing and how much money they are making and which female employee is nice in bed and so on,” writes the complainant. He also provides a list of women employees in the department whose names he provided, whom he claimed were victims of sexual abuse by Nxesi.
Africa News 24-7 will not identify the women out of respect for their privacy. The complainant claims one of the women who held a senior position in the department and was Nxesi’s girlfriend, was harassed by the minister because “for some reason, she decided to run away with the money and never gave the cut of the minister”. “Minister Nxesi was very angry with her and wanted her dead or alive.”
Nxesi is also accused of masterminding the rewriting of many technical positions’ job descriptions to suit teachers and unqualified South African Communist Party (SACP) members to lead and manage engineers, project managers, construction managers, and professional property specialists and practitioners. The complaint details how several SACP office bearers were recruited to senior positions in the department without due processes being followed, with many getting paid millions in salaries without reporting for duty for a single day. Nxesi, a former teacher himself and former secretary-general of SADTU, is also SACP’s national deputy chairperson.
The complainant claims the deployment of dozens of unqualified SACP members and their relatives to senior positions in Public Works was aimed at giving them control over the departments multi-billion-rand budget and also to allocate projects to their friends and relatives who would in turn fund the SACP programmes and personal needs of senior SACP leaders. The complainant said “the illegal appointments were reported to the Public Service Commission, but were being deliberately ignored by the official dealing with them, Phumelele Nzimande, wife of SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande. This perhaps sheds some light on why the SACP has joined a chorus of calls for Parliament to initiate an inquiry
into public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office.
“The department is used as a cost centre to fund the SACP activities because the very time they ask for money, they always say it’s for the SACP and the movement. This is the toxic language that must never be used by government officials in any platform,” says the complainant. He adds” “Minister Nxesi has stolen and continues to steal from South Africans while in public portrays an image of a corruption buster. This minister madam Mkhwebane is a thief, a tribalist, a schemer, an abuser who does not deserve to be called honourable.”
The dossier details how Nxesi, between 2015 and 2017 managed to raise lots of monies which he used among others to secure a plush multi-million-rand property in Midrand. “The house in question was bought as a simple property but got upgraded to the level of five star and its current market value is just around R11m. The furniture for the house was all bought in cash mainly from an exclusive shop called Bakos Brothers, using the cards of the service providers. The minister did not declare his exclusive furniture as required of members of parliament.” Nxesi is also accused of using stolen millions to give a facelift to his homes in the rural area of Matatiele in the Eastern Cape where he hails from.
The dossier also accused Nxesi and senior officials of the department of paying millions in bribes to SIU head Advocate Jan Mothibi in exchange for the SIU exonerating Nxesi and senior officials of the department implicated in fraud and corruption. The complainant asks Mkhwebane to “investigate all five SIU proclamations on Public Works Department and “to get all invoices paid to the SIU by the department and SIU to give the grounds for the invoices paid by Public Works including the service providers used or who were paid for services”.
Apart from asking Mkhwebane to probe Nxesi, the complainant also calls for him to be referred to the parliamentary ethics committee for being directly involved in his department’s procurement processes for self-gain. The complainant accuses the former chief financial officer of the department, Cox Mokgoro, brother of North West Premier Professor Job Mokgoro of being the mastermind behind corruption in the department. “This is the most corrupt person in the whole department and the staff have even given him the new name “Aggrizzi” in the corridors because the minister is unable to ignore him because if he goes to the State Capture Commission, it will be the end of minister Thulas Nxesi and the SACP.”
The complainant accuses former Eskom chief executive officer Jacob Maroga, the current head of the department, of assisting ANC national chairperson and national chairperson and Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe when he was losing his house. The complainant claims Maroga assisted Mantashe “a lot with Eskom contracts”. Writing in the Daily Maverick, Mokgoro, and two other implicated senior departmental officials responded to the dossier which they labeled “a fight-back campaign against key programmes that have been developed and rolled out to help turn around the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and stamp out corruption”.