Ousted communications director-general Mamodupi Mohlala says the way communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda fired her was akin to a “public execution”. Mohlala tells TechCentral that she had questioned the minister on several issues related to the running of the department. “But I never expected it to come to a head like this.”
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“The situation has deteriorated to an extent that I am not able to make untainted deductions on your actions and responses. The breakdown of our relationship has left the department in a stalemate.” This is one of the accusations levelled at former communications department director-general Mamodupi Mohlala by communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda in his letter of dismissal to her, dated 23 July.
Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda needs to appear before parliament’s communications portfolio committee to explain his reasons for dismissing his director general Mamodupi Mohlala, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday. “It is deeply concerning that the minister seems to have taken this action on his own accord amid allegations that he is trying to centralise the control of departmental tenders in his own authority, apparently without due consultation in cabinet or with the president,” DA chief whip Ian Davidson said.
Moments after we finished recording this week’s episode of the TalkCentral podcast, in which we speculated about the likely fate of communications department director-general Mamodupi Mohlala, the news came in that minister Siphiwe Nyanda had fired her. Fortunately — or, perhaps, unfortunately? — we weren’t too far off the mark in our pre-announcement speculation.
Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda has fired his director-general, Mamodupi Mohlala, saying that trust between the two had “broken down irretrievably”. “In the interests of the department, the staff and the government, the minister has come to the conclusion that it would be best to release Mohlala from her position as director-general with effect from 23 July 2010,” Nyanda’s spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said in a terse statement issued on Friday evening.
President Jacob Zuma on Thursday told a press conference in Pretoria that he had heard from his communications minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, that there was a “problem” involving the department’s director-general, Mamodupi Mohlala. “The minister in passing indicated there is a problem. He has not given a proper and formal report. Once this happens, we move in,” Zuma said.
The Communication Workers Union is “horror-struck by infightings” in the communications department led by minister Siphiwe Nyanda. “We have observed that there is a battle of power that is hampering progress between the director-general Mamodupi Mohlala and the minister of communications,” the union said in a statement on Friday.
The Democratic Alliance will refer communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda to the Public Protector. It wants the government watchdog to investigate tenders that Nyanda may be involved in. The DA’s shadow minister for communications, Niekie van den Berg, says the DA will decide later on Friday when it will approach the Public Protector.