Monday, July 26, 2010

Nyanda found guilty

Public Protector tells minister he acted improperly - but he gets off scot-free

Jul 25, 2010 9:58 PM | By MOIPONE MALEFANE

Beleaguered Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda has been found guilty of "improperly" using his cabinet position to defend former Transnet Freight Rail CEO Siyabonga Gama.

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda
Photograph by: MOHAU MOFOKENG
'Your utterances created the impression that they were intended to benefit Mr Gama'

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The Times has established that Public Protector Thulisile Madonsela sent Nyanda a two-page letter last week in which she told him that he had breached the executive ethics code when he publicly defended Gama after his suspension from Transnet.

Gama was suspended for his involvement in the questionable awarding of a security contract to a company linked to Nyanda.

Madonsela wrote: "Your utterances created the impression that they were intended to benefit Mr Gama."

In September, Nyanda backed Gama, saying he was being persecuted in the same way as President Jacob Zuma had been.

The comments that got him into trouble were: "He is a young man. Very few people are as capable or as suitable as he is. The challenge is that some people out there are really bent on ensuring that he is destroyed.

"What happened to JZ [ Zuma] is happening in this case. People vilify and cast aspersions [on the man ]," Nyanda said.

Transnet fired Gama last month after he was found guilty of irregularly awarding an R18-million contract to a company linked to Nyanda.

The Public Protector's investigation followed a complaint made by the Congress of the People.

The five allegations against Nyanda included that he undertook paid work outside his job as a cabinet minister, benefited improperly from contracts awarded to Abalozi (formerly General Nyanda Risk Advisory Services, or GNS) and that his remarks in defence of Gama were in breach of the executive ethics code.

Madonsela found him guilty of only one offence and described the others as unfounded.

"Because of your position as a cabinet minister, you ought to have been more circumspect when dealing with all the issues pertaining to Mr Gama, given Abalozi's business association with Transnet Freight Rail at the time."

Madonsela said her findings were based on Nyanda's past and current association with Gama through Abalozi Security Risk Advisory Services: "The executive ethics code proscribes this type of conduct."

But Madonsela said that no punitive action would be taken against Nyanda because the findings were not based on "legal opinion but on the investigation carried out by my office".

She will send her report to Zuma.

Nyanda has previously maintained that his comments about Gama were made in the context of transformation in general, particularly in state-owned enterprises because they were critical agents in the delivery of the government's promises to the electorate.

He has denied a friendship with Gama.

Communications spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso yesterday refused to comment.

But, though Nyanda has been acquitted on most of the charges, he might face legal action on a different front.

In recent weeks, his department has been embroiled in controversy that increased at the weekend when he fired his director-general, Mamodupi Mohlala.

Weekend reports say that Mohlala rejected a payout offer of a year's salary of R1.6-million because she believed she was entitled to more.

Following an exchange of letters, Nyanda axed Mohlala on Friday, alleging a "breakdown of trust and confidence".

Mohlala threatened him with court action if he went ahead with his plan to dismiss her. In a confidential letter to Mohlala last week, Nyanda said a breakdown of trust "justified a conclusion that" their "employer-employee relationship" was severely hampered by "incompatibility".

Times Live

Comments by Sonny

Siphiwe Nyanda has been using his position in the ANC to benefit his own pocket!

Then again, all the cronies in the ANC think and act alike!

His DG should be reappointed, above him!!

2014 should herald the end of the ANC in SA politics!

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