JOHANNESBURG- The Public Service Commission has denied allegations contained in the 44-page dossier in which one of its commissioners, Phumelele Nzimande, wife of SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande is accused of turning a blind eye to complaints lodged with the commission about several irregular appointment of scores of unqualified teachers, mostly SADTU and SACP members to the Department of Public Works under then Minister Thulas Nxesi, now Minister of Employment and Labour.
A complaint lodged with the Office of the Public protector details how billions were stolen from the Department of Public Works under the stewardship of 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. The Office of Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed it has received the complaint and that Mkhwebane is investigating allegations against Nxesi.
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 dossier, compiled by an anonymous complainant said “the illegal appointments were reported to the Public Service Commission (PSC) but were being deliberately ignored by the official dealing with them, Phumelele Nzimande.
PSC chairperson Advocate Richard Sizani said: “The PSC would like to state that it indeed received reports on alleged irregular appointments from the Minister of Public Works Mr T Nxesi and some from Nehawu. In those instances that, considering our processes, the PSC could investigate, reports were finalised and are now with the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure for consideration and processing.” While acknowledging that Mrs Nzimande is one of its commissioners, Sizani denied that she was the one handling the complaints lodged with the commission.
“The PSC would like to categorically state that the commissioner who was overseeing the review was commissioner TB Luthuli. It is therefore untrue and malicious to suggest that commissioner Phumelele Nzimande blocked some investigations. At no stage was she directly or indirectly involved in the review undertaken in the Department of Public Works,” Concluded Sizani. 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 department is used as a cost centre to fund the SACP activities because every 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.”