Public works hit by qualifications scandal

A qualifications scandal has hit the provincial roads and public works department, with allegations that a consultant appointed to verify employee qualifications is himself unqualified.

Department of public work sspokesman, Mphumzi Zuzile

A whistle-blower says the consultant, Lawrence Venkile of Pandotrix, who even acted as a deputy director-general (DDG), allegedly does not possess a post-matric qualification.

Venkile denied this however, when contacted by the Daily Dispatch.

The allegations are contained in a letter distributed by the whistle-blower last week and forwarded to the department’s top management, including head of department (HoD) James Mlawu.

The whistle-blower used the fictitious name “Zab Judah” because he feared victimisation.

The letter was confirmed by departmental spokesman Mphumzi Zuzile, who said they took the allegations “very seriously”, but would only investigate once the complaint had been through the proper departmental channels. The letter was also sent to the Dispatch.

It alleges Venkile is Mlawu’s “confidante” and his highest qualification is a matric certificate from Thubalethu High.

He acted as a DDG before his company was appointed as consultants in January 2016, states the letter. “Zab Judah” alleges that Venkile, who is said to have been responsible for verifying finance unit employee qualifications, had left his previous employer after an investigation into his qualifications.

The whistle-blower further alleges that Venkile “orchestrated” chief financial officer Yimile Ngqele’s recent suspension.

“Zab Judah” alleged that Venkile, who has links with the ANC, had also acted on behalf of the department in negotiating contract renewals and extensions with service providers.

Venkile last week denied the allegations, calling them “far- fetched at best and malicious at worst”.

He provided Dispatch with his CV which shows a diploma in computer theory from the Institute for Commercial and Industrial Education in 1995 and a certificate in basic programming from Intec College in 1992.

He also forwarded a scanned student card showing that last year he had registered with Management College of South Africa for a master’s degree in business administration.

These, however, could not be independently verified by the time of writing yesterday.

The letter, which was sent to more than 30 departmental staff members, also alleges the consultants were appointed without due processes being followed.

These are spurious allegations aimed at fuelling innuendo.

“My departure [from his previous employer] had nothing to do with any qualification verification.”

He also denied orchestrating Ngqele’s suspension.

Zuzile said last week:“We see this as more of a disgruntled employee who has all the legal recourse in making his complaint heard, but instead treats him or herself as a saviour of the department.” — asandan@dispatch.co.za

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