Water Department drops stained top official
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) welcomes the removal of Sifiso Mkhize as the acting Director-General (DG) of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
He has been replaced by Deborah Mochotlhi who is now acting DG.
“The new appointment serves as a concrete step towards stabilising the leadership crisis in the Department,” says Yamkela Ntola, OUTA’s Portfolio Manager for Water and Environment.
On 8 May 2018, OUTA wrote to the Presidency and the Minister of Water and Sanitation on the challenges at the Department. The purpose of this letter was to, among other things, implore the President and the Minister to remove Mkhize as the acting DG following a report by the Auditor-General of South Africa (AG) as well as serious allegations raised by an anonymous whistleblower.
In the report, the AG notes that Mkhize’s appointment “was outside the shortlisting process, resulting in non-compliance with the prescripts”.
The whistleblower alerted OUTA to problems around Mkhize, including:
Claims that Mkhize is related to former Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, which raises questions about nepotism and transparency in the process around his appointment in the Department;
Allegations that during his tenure as CFO, Mkhize facilitated irregular tenders and payments and, as acting DG, may have destroyed information pertinent to the inquiry into the state of affairs at the Department; and
Allegations that Mkhize was involved in the irregular transfer of funds out of Mhlathuze Water, which was exposed by Carte Blanche in March this year.
OUTA calls for an independent investigation into the above allegations and for Mkhize to be suspended from any professional capacity in the Department pending the investigation’s outcome.
“We have seen former Minister Mokonyane’s trail of abuse. Her team of trustworthy cadres in Gauteng when she was premier was the same team that collapsed the Department. We wouldn’t be surprised if Mokonyane was creating jobs for individuals such as Mkhizi to join her in the Department of Communications,” says Ntola.