Ructions tear at telecoms department - TechCentral

Ructions tear at telecoms department

Gift Buthelezi ... fired by SMS

Gift Buthelezi … fired by SMS

A leadership crisis at the department of telecommunications & postal services is threatening to boil over after director-general Rosey Sekese fired one of her deputies, Gift Buthelezi, via an SMS this week while he was on leave.

TechCentral has established that more action against senior leadership in the department is likely to follow.

These developments come in the wake of a recent letter sent by senior staff in the department to minister Siyabonga Cwele regarding unhappiness with Sekese’s leadership. It is understood reliably that the letter was signed by Buthelezi as well as fellow deputy directors-general Themba Phiri and Sam Vilakazi.

Upon returning to the office from leave on Wednesday, Buthelezi was allegedly manhandled by an official from the department, according to a source, and forced to leave the building. Buthelezi declines to comment, saying the matter is headed to court.

Buthelezi and others in the senior management service at the department have recently had various charges levied against them, TechCentral has learnt.

It is understood that both Vilakazi and Phiri are also facing disciplinary procedures instituted by Sekese. It is alleged that the director-general is using internal disciplinary processes to get rid of staff prior to the completion of the SIU investigation.

Rosey Sekese

Rosey Sekese

Sekese could not be reached in her office or on her mobile phone for comment.

According to a source, the letter that the three deputy directors-general sent to Cwele makes various allegations against Sekese, including details regarding the allegedly irregular sub-letting of property in Cape Town that was meant to be used for a government call centre.

Other allegations include that Sekese’s original appointment as a deputy director-general of the department was irregular and that the appointment of consultants to the ICT policy review process was also not above board.

It’s understood Cwele has asked for legal opinion on the content of the letter.

The developments come amid two probes by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into the affairs of the department.

Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn says that she has written to Cwele asking for “clarity on the departmental disciplinary hearings into the controversial R756m Media Corner deal and whether they are irregular”. The SIU is tasked with investigating the deal, in which Media Corner, a media agency, was paid the money to advertise South Africa’s digital migration programme.

Shinn says disciplinary charges against 15 staff members have been initiated without this SIU report being completed and without staff members having access to the report.

The second SIU investigation is into alleged serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of the former department of communications and improper or unlawful conduct by its officials, including unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media

4 Comments

  1. Do any of these ANC circuses actually achieve anything, or is it all about getting fantastic salaries and getting to the top of the pile, while trying to cream off as much as possible from dubious rental and other deals? And all the while the taxpayers keep paying, but for how long? Every ANC run entity just seems to be about suspending employees who do not toe the line to the political boss.

  2. Adil Nchabeleng on

    Truth is Gift Buthelezi is a great administrator and public servant. It is a sad state of affairs that he has been dismissed because he was cautioning the Dept and the Minister about maladministration and speaking up against the wrongs and flaws within the Dept Administration. This is an unfair dismissal…
    Our Govn depts cannot be used to settle personal scores. This is a wrongful dimissal and it sounds like there is a personal vendetta…
    Whatever they do to you remember you are a great man. We know you and know the contribution you made to the department and South Africa.
    Your great work is hailed and praised all over the world. You put SA’s ICT and Telecommunications on the global map. And you are an advocate for change And your work is a testimony.

    GIFT BUTHELEZI we stand by you and support you… we will not keep quite… truth must told…

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