Officials implicated in Nkandla scandal escape with written warning

Officials implicated in Nkandla scandal escape with written warning

- The department of public works officials implicated in the Nkandla scandal have escaped with nothing more serious than a written warning

- The department has settled the cases against all 10 officials who were accused of tender irregularities during upgrades to former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead

- All 10 employees have returned to work and will undergo procurement training

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The 10 department of works officials who were implicated in the Nkandla security upgrade scandal have all escaped with final written warnings and have been ordered to undergo procurement training.

The officials faced internal disciplinary proceedings for tender irregularities during the now infamous security upgrades to former president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. The officials were accused of using preferred service providers, rather than running an open tender process.

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The department initiated disciplinary proceedings against the officials in 2015, but has since withdrawn these proceedings after an offer to settle was accepted by the officials.

Briefly.co.za gathered that all of the employees returned to work after a confidential settlement was reached with the department. As per the agreement their legal fees were paid by the department.

The department of public works abandoned disciplinary proceedings when it became clear that the officials had merely been doing their duties and received orders from higher up to engage in certain practices.

The chose preferred suppliers instead of an open tender process as a way to ensure that security on the project for the then president of the country would not be compromised.

The Sunday-Times reported that sources with knowledge of the situation indicated that the officials acted on email instructions from their managers in this regards.

Each of the 10 officials was instructed to not to take part in any tender process until they had undergone procurement training.

Originally 12 officials were charged, Itumeleng Molosi who was the director of the project, pleaded guilty and was suspended without pay for three months. A second official, Belinda Matola, died in a car crash.

The department’s spokesperson, Thami Mchunu, said he could not reveal the exact details or the amounts of the settlement due to a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. Mchunu added that the fact that the officials were disciplined showed the department did not approve of their conduct.

Mchunu did not comment on whether the department would institute disciplinary action against the managers involved in the matter.

Former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, whose report into the goings on at Nkandla blew the lid on one of the biggest political scandals in South African history said she in her opinion the punishment seemed lenient.

Madonsela added that she was in two minds in regards to the matter because it seemed hypocritical to punish departmental officials without any action being taken against politicians involved in the scandal.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed the punishment handed out and said it showed the government was not serious about holding anyone accountable.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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