Khanyile latest casualty of ’abusive’ MEC – SG says premier failed to act on grievances

Eastern Cape social development superintendent-general (SG) Stanley Khanyile has become the latest casualty under the leadership of MEC Nancy Sihlwayi whom he accused of interfering with administrative matters.

The Saturday Dispatch can today exclusively reveal that Khanyile, who had been tasked with a budget of more than R2.2-billion, has finally thrown in the towel and resigned.

Eastern Cape social development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi

This after the impasse between him and Sihlwayi could not be resolved by premier Phumulo Masualle.

Khanyile, who was previously an administration head at the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), tendered his resignation letter to Masualle this week, the Saturday Dispatch understands.

His last day at social development will be May 31.

The paper understands that Khanyile had been frustrated by Sihlwayi whom he accused of having “abused, humiliated, and ill-treated” him since he assumed the office in 2015.

Khanyile accused his boss of wrongly interfering in administrative matters and that he could no longer take Sihlwayi’s “very abusive language” which he said undermined his authority as accounting officer.

He said the abuse continued on a weekly basis and that Sihlwayi had taken to “waging unfair and baseless accusations” against him.

On the other hand, Sihlwayi has been accusing her department’s accounting officer of insubordination, defiance and poor performance, saying trust between the two of them had long ago eroded.

She further accused Khanyile of “lacking” administration oversight capabilities and not adhering to departmental policies and procedures.

In his resignation letter which has been seen by the Dispatch, Khanyile claims Sihlwayi abused him in the manner in which she communicated with him.

He further said Sihlwayi interfered with recruitment and procurement processes and other departmental matters over which she had no authority.

He is the second administration head to fall under Sihlwayi’s tenure.

The first was Bea Hackula, who had to be shifted to Cogta after a fallout with Sihlwayi, also over allegations of interference in administrative matters.

Hackula was subsequently axed by Masualle over claims of financial mismanagement allegedly committed while at the social development department.

In late 2015, former special programmes head Masiza Mazizi also resigned from the department after he was accused of leaking information to the media.

Mazizi was hauled over the coals for ignoring an instruction, allegedly from Sihlwayi, not to invite white children to a state-sponsored youth camp.

Sihlwayi’s office wrote to Mazizi asking him to explain why he had ignored the instruction that white children were not to be invited.

This even saw the matter being reported to the Human Rights Commission by the DA in the province.

Khanyile yesterday said he was leaving “an unhappy man because I have raised my grievances with the premier but nothing has changed”.

“Now I feel that I have ran my race and that I should rather go elsewhere,” said an emotional Khanyile who refused to comment further.

In his resignation letter, Khanyile said his professional relationship with Sihlwayi “has deteriorated to the lowest levels”.

Masualle had tried to repair relations at a mediation meeting on March 1, but it did not iron out differences.

It is understood Sihlwayi had asked for legal representation during her meeting with the mediator.

Sihlwayi yesterday said she was not aware of Khanyile’s resignation as it has not yet been communicated to her by Khanyile’s employer, Masualle.

She also refused to comment on allegations she had ill-treated the accounting officer.

“I cannot answer to those allegations because they were never presented to me but to the premier who is the right person to speak to about this matter,” she said.

Provincial government spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga said Masualle was still “applying his mind” to the resignation.

However, a series of written exchanges between Sihlwayi and Khanyile paint a picture of an irreparable breakdown between the two.

In a letter in October last year, Sihlwayi accused Khanyile of not adhering to departmental policies and procedures.

In another letter directed to Khanyile, Sihlwayi said she was placing on hold all advertisements and awarding of tenders by the department of
R1-million and above.

“This decision is informed by huge gaps and defects that have been observed on the non-compliance of this process with department procedures, policies and procedures on the side of your office,” she wrote.

On November 2, Sihlwayi wrote to Khanyile regarding his conduct “which may be seen as insubordination, neglect and dereliction of duties”.

On December 21, Sihlwayi wrote another letter, this time withdrawing financial delegations from Khanyile.

That forced Khanyile to write to Masualle on January 11, detailing his grievances.

He again wrote to Masualle on April 26 saying “the abuse and unfair labour practices against me at workplace, continues on a weekly basis.

“As a person I’m supposed to work with closely, the MEC’s unrelenting and persistent abusive treatment makes the situation unbearable for me.”