Department of telecommunications & postal services director-general Rosey Sekese is facing internal disciplinary charges, telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Wednesday.
“Ms Sekese was served with charges and the disciplinary process started on Tuesday, 3 November 2015,” Cwele said in a statement.
“The department will advise the public once these processes have been concluded by the chairperson of the inquiry.”
Cwele’s spokesman, Siya Qoza, said the ministry has decided not to communicate what the specific charges against Sekese are. “The process is an internal issue,” he said.
Although the process is being handled inside the department, an “independent” chair has been appointed to oversee it, Qoza said.
News of the charges comes three months after Cwele suspended Sekese while the Public Service Commission conducted an investigation into “dysfunction” in the telecoms department.
The “precautionary suspension” expired after 60 working days, on 2 November, although it is understood that Sekese has been asked not to return to work. Joe Mjwara has continued as acting director-general in the interim.
According to Qoza, the Public Service Commission has not yet concluded its investigation and has asked Cwele for more time to present its report.
The ructions at the department come as industry players become increasingly frustrated by the problems besetting it. The problems have resulted in new policies, crucial to the sector’s development, never seeing the light of day.
Cwele received concerns from individuals, including at a senior level, about the “paralysis” within the department, his office said when Sekese was first suspended. “The Public Service Commission reviewed the concerns and determined that the seriousness thereof warrants an independent inquiry.”
Cwele admitted “ongoing leadership challenges” were “negatively affecting” the department’s “ability to execute its functions timeously”.
The minister asked the commission to investigate the circumstances and the role of Sekese in disciplinary action taken against three deputy directors-general, Gift Buthelezi, Themba Phiri and Sam Vilakazi.
Buthelezi and Phiri were fired earlier this year, while Vilakazi resigned, but reportedly only after being told that he, too, would be fired.
The Public Service Commission is probing alleged abuse of power and situations of conflict in the relationship with the three deputy directors-general, Cwele said.
Also being investigated is the “irregular appointment of two employees to the same post of media liaison officer in the office of the deputy minister”.
The probe is also looking into “reasons for the inaccuracies on the delegations of authority submitted to the former and current minister” by Sekese and the “lawfulness of the application of the delegations of authority by the former minister of communications to [Sekese], dated 19 September 2013”. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media