S-SETA, W- SETA and C- SETA on governance and management issues: Follow-up briefing

Higher Education, Science and Technology

26 May 2020
Chairperson: Mr P Mapulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, 26, May 2020

Members of the Committee outlined all the common issues within the Setas, and said one sees the same issues within the Setas over the years. The Setas are corrupt and ineffective organisations. One of the things to focus on is who should be blamed for this. Over the years the same cycle repeats itself where corruption gets exposed, an Administrator gets appointed, and then it has a turnaround strategy. However, the strategy does not work because the next Board coming in is as bad as the previous Board. The Seta comes up with another turnaround strategy but nothing really gets done. It is the same cycle over and over – corruption, disruption, theft and dysfunction. This is all to the disadvantage of the learners. Nothing is ever done about the Boards and the senior personnel who oversee these Setas.

The reports made by the Setas included:

Services Seta told Members R849 million of the R960 million was irregular expenditure in excess of the deemed approved Budget, awaiting clarification from the Department. This figure is cumulative. The remaining figures are not as the result of theft. Each figure was scrutinised appropriately but the only issue was the R41 million of unapproved severance packages. This matter was before a Court and consequence management will be implemented once the Courts finalised the matter.

Regarding the Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&R SETA), Members were not pleased with the processes undertaken to address the irregular expenditure. Cases forming part of the forensic report, and regarded as irregular expenditure, amounts to a total value of R196 551 878.22. Only R1.6 million was categorised for recovery. R473 773 was successfully recovered so far. For the outstanding amount, engagements were on-going and R508 312.32 of  the outstanding monies form part of the matter reported to SAPS. Members were not pleased and disagreed with the Board in granting a blanket amnesty to all the 78 implicated employees.

Members asked for consequence management for wrongdoing in the entity. The Committee directed the WRSETA to fully implement the recommendations of a number of forensic investigations commissioned by the previous Accounting Authority and the Administrator of the WRSETA.

The Construction Seta (CETA) was placed under administration by the Minister. Members wanted to know why this was the case when its irregular expenditure was minimal compared to the other Seta’s. The Committee will be following the litigation case between the Minister, and the former Board of the CETA arising from the Minister's decision to disband the Board.

Meeting report

Briefing by the Chairman of the Board, Services SETA

Mr Stephen De Vries, Chairperson of the Board, said the new Accounting Authority (AA) was appointed on 1 April, during the lockdown.  This delayed the start of its work. The AA had to respond to directives of the Accounting Executive to set up a Covid-19 Task Team for business continuity. This is to ensure stipends are paid, and to implement a remote work strategy. The reporting according to the legislative framework carries on.

The AA had to ensure the budget was adjusted. It also had to review commitments and programmes because of the skills holiday levy announced.

A special AA meeting was convened on 20 May to prepare for this meeting. Additional information was included on the presentation after receiving reports from executive management.  

The first additional question posed by the Committee was about the personal security for the Chief Executive Officer. The AA replied to the threats made to the CEO at the time, with personal security for her.  At the time the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) appeared before the Committee last year, the AA already commissioned another threat and risk analysis on the CEO. The contract was subsequently terminated at the end of November.

Ms Amanda Buza-Gqoboka, Chief Executive Officer, Services SETA, took the Members through the presentation addressing:

  • A Progress Report for the Committee’s resolution to terminate private security personnel services for the CEO;
  • progress in resolving the certification backlog;
  • consequence management implemented against officials responsible for irregularities at the Services SETA;
  • allegations on appointment of senior managers without the requisite qualifications; and
  • an update on the strengthening of internal supply chain management and procurement processes to curb irregular expenditure and other irregularities.

Allegations on Irregular Appointment of Senior Managers

She gave comprehensive details of the positions allegedly occupied without the requisite qualifications and experience. The senior management positions are:

- Chief Executive Officer, now occupied by Ms Amanda Buzo-Gqoboka

- Chief Financial Officer, now occupied by Mr Tsheola Matsebe

- Executive Manager: Office of CEO, now occupied by Ms Mamabele Motla

- Acting Executive Manager: Planning (2017 – 2018), Mr Sibusiso Dhladhla; and

- Executive Manager: Legal Services (2015 – 2018), Ms Amanda Buzo-Gqoboka

Certification backlog

123 funded and unfunded TT results were received in 2020 and not processed for certification with NAMB and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). These learner files were reported on the National Artisan Development Support Centre (NADSC) and SETMIS. These files will be processed for certification once the lockdown eases up and NAMB and QCTO return to work. These files are not considered outstanding certificates. 345 learner files with outstanding certificates came from the clean-up exercise initiated by the Artisan Department with the Trade Test Centers.

Consequence Management for Supply Chain Management Irregularities

Consequence management has been implemented against officials responsible for irregularities at the Services SETA. Total Irregular Expenditure amounts to R960 million broken down as follows:

  • R 849 million – expenditure in excess of deemed approved budget (awaiting clarification from Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
  • R1.5 million – contract management for critical services (to be written off as per framework)
  • R6.1 million – deviation denied by National Treasury (NT) – (to be written off as per framework)
  • R62 million – contravention of grant regulations – to be written off as per framework)
  • R41 million unapproved severance packages (litigation recovery commenced)

The last irregular expenditure relating to Supply Chain Management (SCM) was incurred in 2017/2018, identified and reported in 2018/2019 due to differences of interpretation. The Services SETA implemented a compliance checklist to be completed prior to commencement of any assignment. Compliance to SCM policies was included as part of management’s key performance area. Bid documents were enhanced to address 2018/2019 finding (finding did not result in irregular expenditure).

Lastly, it introduced an additional checklist for completion and approval prior to all awards. SCM employees attended training with the School of Governance on the 17-21 February 2020.The Bid Committee members attended the PFMA SCM Bid Committees training on the 25-27 December 2019 with the Enterprises University of Pretoria.

Briefing by the Wholesale and Retail SETA (W&R SETA)

Mr Reggie Sibiya, Chairperson of the W&R SETA Board, said the target achievements could not be provided at this time because of the auditing processes underway. The team could come back to brief the Committee on these. The SETA was put under administration and the current CEO came at such a time when things were rough.

On Covid-19 interventions, there are no plans around this but the key issue is the revenue and income reduction (45% reduction) due to payment holidays which were granted. The grant of income payers are Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). Covid-19 is surely going to be a direct impact but the SETA made R74 million available to support SMMEs and Spaza Shops. The SETA is working with the Department of Small Business Development (DBSA). On Thursday the Board will convene to discuss the way forward during these difficult times.

Mr Tom Mkhwanazi, Chief Executive Officer, W&R SETA, said on 23 October 2019, the W&RSETA appeared before the Committee. The SETA was asked to reply to various matters raised by Members in the meeting. These matters are:

- Progress report on finalising misconduct hearings against employees implicated in the forensic investigation reports, and progress in recovering lost monies;

- Progress report in implementing an action plan developed to address the audit findings raised by the Auditor-General (AG) in the 2018/19 Annual Report; and

- Progress report in implementing a turn-around strategy to restore stability and improve performance at the W&RSETA.

Cases which are part of the forensic report, regarded as irregular expenditure totals R196 551 878.22. The cases were assessed, went through the determination test, were fully investigated, and considered by the Board. It was submitted to National Treasury afterwards to be condoned. The SETA is awaiting approval of it.

Monies categorised for recovery are valued at R1 648 401.94, with a total of R473 773.02 successfully recovered. For the outstanding amount, engagements are still on-going and R508 312.32 of  the outstanding monies form part of the matter reported to South African Police Services (SAPS). Matters with elements of criminality from the forensic reports were reported to SAPS and later referred to the Special Crimes Investigation Unit.

The Board decided to close all disciplinary cases after careful consideration by a recommendation of the Task team. It considered it will be difficult to institute disciplinary proceedings against the 78 implicated employees because of the following reasons:

- time elapsed since commissioning the forensic audit;

-time elapsed since the organisation became aware of the transgressions,

- as the organisation should have acted, the AA considered the principle of justice delayed is justice denied, and double jeopardy;

- lack of evidence because of inadequate human resources record keeping;

- employees who left the organisation under hostile conditions.

Regarding the audit findings, significant findings and control deficiencies were identified by the Attorney General of South Africa (AGSA) in all three audit focus areas.  These focus areas are compliance with laws and regulations, financial statements, and performance information. In addressing the audit findings, debriefing meetings were held with the AGSA team to ensure the plan was appropriate and adequate to resolve the findings. Management also developed the action plan immediately after the finalisation of the 18/19 audit and monitors its implementation on a regular basis.

Lastly, the impact of the turn-around strategy produced significant improvements at various levels of operations, including:

-Improved stakeholder engagement and communication as well as support

-Improved organisational performance compared to previous financial year

-Enhanced enterprise risk management and internal control functions

-Implementation of revised organisational structure design 

-Policies reviewed and streamlined

-Standard Operating Procedures linked to Policies

As the way forward, the organisational structure will be implemented on 30 September. A skills audit will also be conducted, amongst other measures.

Briefing by the Construction SETA

Mr Sabelo Wasa, Administrator of the Construction, Education, and Training Authority (CETA), gave the Committee a progress report on:

- Resolving the pension and salary increase dispute with workers,

- Consequence management implemented against employees involved in irregularities and update with the disciplinary cases, and

- Outcome of independent investigation into the meeting held in Durban by the AA of the CETA to determine if a 100% contribution to the pension fund and 15% once off salary increase were authorised by the AA or not.

The CETA was placed under administration from the 3rd of February 2020. The Minister issued a letter to the Board instructing it not to take any decisions with financial implications. Mr Wasa was appointed as the Administrator of the CETA for a period of 12 months. The case between the Minister and the previous Board has caused a huge delay in the execution of his duties. The matter was now before the Labour Appeals Court. The Administrator engaged with the Union on the salary and pension increase disputes before the lockdown. He now engaged the forensic investigators to assess and investigate further all human resources processes related to the increase of salaries and pensions. The Administrator will begin the tender for services of forensic investigators at the inception of Alert Level Three.

On consequence management, there were two employees. One was dismissed and brought back, when the matter was settled with that person. The Senior Manager of HR was suspended because she allegedly leaked salary information causing a significant issue in the organisation. The Administrator decided to bring back this employee. The most important issue was to deal with the outcomes of the leaked information.

Discussion

Mr P Keetse (EFF) said the Minister has put the Construction SETA under Administration. There was R12 million irregular expenditure found by the Auditor-General. There is the former SETA with almost R1 billion of irregular expenditure. He asked how one leads a SETA misusing funds.

One cannot help but feel there is some bias in the appointments of individuals who lead these organisations. There was no adequate explanation about the qualifications of senior managers. He said he would sympathise if it was one or two individuals. It cannot be the case, that requirements are now modified when the minimum requirements were Masters’ qualification. The results were modified and this must be dealt with accordingly. The Minister must relook this and take a decision.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) was not clear on the SCM consequences at the Services Seta and sought clarity. She asked W&R Seta what consequence management was undertaken regarding the 78 implicated employees, and what was done about these employees.

Mr W Letsie (ANC) said:

  • He believed the Services Seta was either not telling the truth right now or in December last year when it sent the responses to the Committee. The Chief Financial Officer was second to the CEO in those set of responses. He said the minimum requirement as per the Skills Audit was a Masters or its equivalent. In this presentation this was modified. The Committee is getting two different answers on the same question. All of the senior managers did not meet the academic minimum requirements. If the requirements were met with experience it must be duly noted. The National Skills Authority (NSA) Report was released in September 2018. Mr Letsie said he perused the recommendations, and the Report made the point, all those senior managers did not meet the academic minimum requirements as per the initial advert.
  • He asked how far the Services Seta is in implementing recommendations of the NSA Report. The Committee invited the NSA because there are conflicting issues with the information given by the Service Seta.
  • He asked the Seta’s if it paid its learners monthly stipends. Some learners complained saying last month the Services Seta only paid R350. Since the Grace and Reed Company’s contract was terminated to pay the stipends, there is a general feeling from learners about continuous problems. Some claim the stipend was not paid since February.
  • He asked about the appointment process of people responsible for paying the monthly stipends.
  • Addressing the W&R Seta, he spoke of an indication for R74 million to be moved from skills development to SMMEs and Spaza Shops for Covid-19 relief fund. He asked why the money had to move from skills development and what impact it had on skills development in general, even post Covid-19.
  • He asked if Covid-19 is going to cover people from the diaspora, because almost all spaza shops in South Africa are no longer owned by South Africans.
  • To the CETA he said, there is a programme CETA is running in Orange Farm with the South African Women in Construction. He received complaints of people not paid since December, and received complaints in March. He wanted to know if this matter has since been resolved and what the issues for failure to pay were.
  • Most Seta’s are still staggering in the second industrial revolution and pays learners based on the physical register attendance. He urged the new Seta Boards to modernise their Seta’s and move toward improving ICT systems.
  • The CETA’s Board was suspended based on the allegation of a 15% increase paid, and the R12 million irregular expenditure. He asked the Department why the CETA was placed under administration when its irregular expenditure was much less than the others.
  • If the CETA plans to institute a forensic investigation, he asked what the terms of reference will be, and if it will also cover the former CEO who signed off on the 15% increase.
  • Lastly, he said, rumour was, the newly appointed Administrator was doing business with the CETA. He asked the Administrator if this was true or not, and, when the court dismissed the decision of the Minister, the Administrator locked the offices of the CETA and blocked the former Board members from entering and executing duties.
  • He said the Department was now appealing to the highest court and wanted to know who was paying for the legal fees and the costs.

Mr B Nodada (DA) asked all the Setas about the status of implementing consequence management on the specific issues outlined in the SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) and National Skills Authority (NSA) Reports. There is mention of suspended employees, but no specifics.

Secondly, he asked how many issues are resolved to date, and which issues are outstanding from the recommendations of the Reports and the Committee.

Regarding the Construction SETA, there are concerns raised about the Chairperson, regarding the tender on learner tablets, biometric systems for learners, and procurement of land. He asked what investigations were done on that issue and if there is a resolution on it.

On the Services SETA, he asked what has been done about the SCM issues and the improper conduct of the Chairperson.

Lastly, he asked the Department to shed some light on the Services Seta’s irregular expenditure. It is reported to be R900 million, which is part of the R1.1 billion irregular expenditure. He wanted to know the outcome of this issue and the status resolving the matter, as part of consequence management to hold those responsible, accountable.

Prof B Bozzoli (DA) said the whole picture was quite shocking. She outlined all the common issues within the Seta, and said one sees the same issues within the Seta’s over the years. The Seta’s are corrupt and ineffective organisations. One of the things to focus on is who should be blamed for this. Over the years the same cycle repeats itself where corruption gets exposed, an Administrator gets appointed, and then it has a turnaround strategy. However, the strategy does not work because the next Board coming in is as bad as the previous Board. The Seta comes up with another turnaround strategy but nothing really gets done. It is the same cycle over and over – corruption, disruption, theft and dysfunction. This is all to the disadvantage of the learners.

She developed an alternative vision for all the Seta’s, which includes channelling the money of the Seta’s toward the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. This is so it can be better funded and the training the Seta offers can be properly done and properly certificated. It is not properly certificated at the moment. Going on about the failing Seta’s is a waste of time.

Often one finds someone who stole, is disciplined, and if one is lucky the person can be taken to court, if that ever happens. However, nothing is ever done about the Boards and the senior personnel who oversee these Seta’s. For example, the W&R Seta, she said, how long has this period of decay been going on for. She looked at how much the Board was paid to manage the Seta and in the previous year, there were board Members paid up to R450 000 per year to sit on that Board. These officials allowed the Seta to decay in ineffectiveness. She asked how long the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) thinks the decay went on for.

To the Services Seta, she said she felt the presentation was very vague and rushed. Only one of the questions raised by the Committee was answered. Members never really got a sense of what happened to the R1.1 billion and who is going to be called to account for it.

She said she hoped the new CEO of the W&R Seta can instil hope in it. And it seems there is hope for it.

Prof Bozzoli said she received reports about corruption in the CETA for at least six years and the presentation was not any more reassuring. Members are presented with a Seta really fighting within itself. She was also not pleased with the detail provided by the Administrator.

Ms N Mkhatshwa (ANC) reiterated the importance of resolving the issues in the Seta sector. The Department needs to bring in some intent in restoring efficiency and effectiveness in these Seta’s. She asked about how the Seta’s will deliberately work towards restoring good governance and management.

She asked the CETA about the effectiveness of pursuing conversations rather than proper consequence management towards the employees who were guilty. She said she was interested in seeing the implementation of the new strategy by the W&R Seta.

The Chairperson said:

  • The previous CEO, Ms Pilusa, in the meeting in November, brought her unions along to make presentations. The Committee later received a letter from Mr Mfebe who was on the dissolved Board, making allegations saying Ms Pilusa misled Parliament. The Committee asked Ms Pilusa to respond to those allegations. Just before the meeting started, the Chairperson received a response from Ms Pilusa refuting the allegations against her. She also continues to confirm what she told the Committee in November, saying the organisation in which Mr Mfebe is the CEO received millions of Rands from Seta, as the result of placing interns. These allegations are concerning, given she was willing to make the allegations under oath. He requested these allegations to be investigated thoroughly as part of the allegations the Administrator mentioned.
  • The second issue is the Durban meeting. The Administrator said there are affidavits confirming the meeting took place and resolutions were taken. Some of the matters require forensic investigation and signature inspection experts. The issue of the pension contribution and salary increases was a direct result of the Durban meeting. He asked the Administrator to ensure the matter was at the top of the agenda of the issues investigated. Certified affidavits are required from all those who attended the meeting.
  • There was a situation where the Board decided employees’ salaries will be deducted to pay back what the Board claims was not due. He wanted to know how far this process was. The unions were emphatic it was a negotiated agreement signed with the employer’s representatives, but all of a sudden the Board made a u-turn. The SNG Report outlined a number of allegations and a further investigation was recommended. Included in this was the procurement of the Seta office. He asked the Administrator about his intentions on following up on the allegations made by the SNG Report. The Committee also needs a report on how the CETA implemented the SNG Report and all the other allegations.
  • In the meeting of 29 November, the unions made some startling allegations about three executives who were accomplices in the pension and salary increases. Action was taken against other executives, but the three. Instead there were bonuses paid to those three executives. He wanted to know if the Administrator was following up on this and his findings on those allegations.
  • There was also an allegation by the former CEO and the Unions about a law firm used. There are eight opinions issued by the firm. He asked if this is true, and if a further investigation was undertaken by the Administrator.
  • On the Services Seta, he said there was an attempt to speak to the issues regarding the allegations made on irregular expenditure, but he was not convinced by the explanation was provided. There was a massive inflation of the tender for the construction of the Skills Academies in Kokstad. The report recommended there was further investigation so the quantity surveyors could also come in. There was a claim the Minister made a request for there to be an increase in the quantities during the construction of those projects, but the NSA claimed it did not get a letter from the Minister to this effect. This matter was not mentioned by the Services Seta in replying to the allegations.
  • The Chairperson said he was concerned about the inconsistencies, about the responses received in December, and those received today. He would like the matter clarified and asked for a document confirming the submissions made at the present meeting.
  • Lastly, to the W&R Seta, he said he was concerned about the stance taken by the Board to cancel all the disciplinary cases, or not to proceed with all the disciplinary cases. It seems the Board gave a blanket indemnity to all the 76 employees who were mentioned in those reports. He was extremely concerned about that. In addition, the Committee was not convinced about the decisions taken by the Board.
  • The report of the W&R Seta says the total amount involved in the forensic investigation is about R196 million. Of that amount only R1.6 million is recoverable, and only R473 000 was successfully recovered. To say all employees involved were given a blanket indemnity is extremely concerning, and to claim there is consequence management. This is not acceptable. The Committee insists the Seta goes through the disciplinary process for all those employees.

Responses

Mr De Vries said more time is needed to address all the issues. He was aware of two investigations on the infrastructure projects, and evidence gathered from this must be provided to the Committee.

Regarding the appointments of the executives, he thought providing the adverts of those positions would put the matter to rest. The academic qualifications required were a Masters’ degree or equivalent.

The stipends were paid as directed by the Minister, and where there is specific information about people, it must be followed up on a case by case basis. He attended to each query individually.

Ms Buzo-Gqobeka said she would like some direction from the Committee on how to deal with this. The job adverts can be given to the Committee. Members can advise on the way forward or how to deal with the matter appropriately.

On the irregular expenditure, the Seta conducted a breakdown of this amount and this amount was cumulative over the years. As for the R849 million, the Seta met with National Treasury, the Department, and the Auditor General about this figure. It sought guidance on how the Seta is expected to submit the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The APP and the budget normally gets approved by the Minister. There are differences on how the matter should be have dealt with, but all the years the Budget and the APP were submitted concurrently. The AG and Treasury put this matter at the discretion of the Department. The irregular expenditure was not the result of theft. Each figure was scrutinised appropriately, but the only issue was the R41 million of unapproved severance packages. This matter is now in Court, and awaiting further court dates.

The amounts speaking to the ever-green contracts, these contracts were immediately terminated but the amount was already incurred and Treasury was consulted on this. The R6.1 million was a deviation denied by Treasury, and Treasury was approached on this. It advised how to deal with it as condonements.

The R62 million was about the mandatory grants which had to be paid. The Services Seta has the responsibility to pay these grants. What happened was an increase of claims not aligned to the budget, approved for mandatory grants? The budget was based on the prior year trends and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) advised there was an increase in the number of claims. When payments were made, it therefore went over budget. Consequence management is required on the R41 million irregular expenditure amount only.

As for consequence management, the first report dealt with investigations in a number of issues the Minister wanted investigations on. It made reference to a further investigation which had to be made on SCM. This investigation took place. The investigation made recommendations - the incumbents in these positions were not capacitated to understand the Seta when it took those actions. It was recommended it be trained and issued written warnings. This was done.

Ms Buzo-Gqobeka said, her understanding is, equivalent means five years or any other qualification, five or six years training of the incumbent.

The NSA report was commissioned by the Minister. It was sent to the Service Seta and the Seta was directed to respond to the NSA report findings. The Chairperson of the Seta replied to the NSA findings. After the responses the Minister suggested the Seta come up with an Action Plan to be implemented by the Seta.

Regarding the stipend payment contracts, this contract was terminated because of the increasing complaints from students. There are two streams in which stipends are paid. The artisanal related trade is paid to the host employers directly to pay the learners. The other stream is where the Seta pays directly to the learners. The Seta discovered there are a number of inconsistencies in this because some learners claim stipends when the learner dropped out of the programmes a long time ago. There are also legitimate cases where learners were short-paid.

On the appointment of the stipend management unit, a labour brokerage was utilised for this.

Mr Letsie said all senior managers, except for the last incumbent on the presentation did not meet the minimum qualification required for the positions.

The Chairperson said this matter will be engaged further and suggested the events be presented in a chronological manner.

Mr Sibiya told the Members the action taken on the 78 employees was not adequately presented to the Members.

The irregular expenditure of R196 million was due to failure to follow due processes, and the correct delegation of authority framework versus corruption. The monies did go to the right beneficiaries but the processes on compliance were not followed.

On the issue of the 78 employees, he said, when the Board began, in 2018 April it took over, there were three forensic reports. The debate was how the Board could deal with them. Some advice was sought from National Treasury. Treasury advised the Board must appoint an Ad hoc Committee consisting of board Members and legal experts. The Ad hoc Committee was commissioned. The Ad hoc Committee scrutinised every case and presented recommendations to the Board. So out of 78, only five employees came. A sanction of disciplinary action had to be taken. 24 were given verbal warnings and there was no action recommended on the remaining employees. Complications ensued because some of the five employees were part of the first group suspended by the Board, based on the forensic investigation. While disciplinary actions were taking place, the Board was suspended and then the Administrator came in and conducted hearings, and issued the sanctions.

The Chairperson interjected and suggested the responses must be provided in writing, because the Committee specifically asked for a report speaking to the implementation of the recommendations in the forensic report. The presentation only outlined the Board taking a decision to stop all the cases. This is different from the verbal response Mr Sibiya just gave the Members.

The official said the rumours mentioned by Mr Letsie were false and he had no relationship with Ntumba and Associates. This company was the auditor of the CETA at the time of his appointment as the Administrator.

He suggested sharing the terms of reference of the planned investigation with the Committee. This will deal with all the issues raised by the Members.  All the implicated individuals have been suspended and the allegations against them have been put before them.

Speaking about locking the offices of the Seta after the judgment of the 25 of February, it is partly true. He said he received advice from the Minister’s lawyers about appealing the judgement, and its effect is to suspend the judgment. The AA must therefore not be allowed to go back to work as it was ordered by the judge of the Labour Court. When Mr Mfebe arrived, he called him, and raised this issue. Mr Mfebe said he was merely the Administrator and has no case against him, but the case was between the AA and the Minister.

On the pension fund deductions and salary increases, the AA rescinded the decision to deduct the money from the salaries of the employees. The matter was now back to its initial stage. Employee salaries are now paid in full until the matters are dealt with appropriately.

He was not aware of the executives implicated on the matter. He was only aware of the CFO’s suspension because of the SNG Report. The CFO was the one who made the presentation to the Board about the payment of 100% contributions to the employees.

On the stipends, monies were paid to the TSK to deal with the stipend of South African Women in Construction in April. There was a backlog from September but the backlog was subsequently dealt with. Complaints were received regarding delays in payments of stipends to other entities, and the interns. CETA has not been able to get hold of TSK to ascertain why the monies were not being paid.

The Chairperson said the Committee will welcome the terms of reference from CETA for Members to scrutinise. The case will be closely monitored as well, and at an appropriate time the Committee will request the Minister to brief the Committee on the suspension of the Board.

It is clear the Board was becoming very obstructive to the functioning of the organisation but the Minister will come with a full brief after the matter has been fully ventilated in Court.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

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