Senior water affairs official fired: minister
One of the three senior water affairs officials suspended in November last year, has been fired, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday.
"The chief financial officer's [disciplinary case] has... been heard. It is about three weeks since he was released from the department; he is no longer an employee," she told a media briefing at Parliament.
Chief financial officer Onesmus Ayaya was suspended last November, together with the then acting director-general Nobubele Ngele, and the department's IT head Bubele Vakalisa.
The suspensions came only weeks after Molewa took over the portfolio from her predecessor Buyelwa Sonjica, and followed the dismissal a few months before that of the department's then director-general, Pam Yako.
The suspensions and dismissals follow a report by the Auditor-General on over R1 billion in "irregular expenditure" by the department.
Molewa on Thursday said the department had learned Ayaya was submitting an appeal against his dismissal.
It is understood that Yako has followed a similar course, bringing her case before the General Public Service Bargaining Council.
Molewa said Ngele and Vakalisa had yet to face disciplinary charges, but suggested these would take place soon.
Asked whether, given the huge sum of money involved, the department planned to press criminal charges, over and above internal charges, she said this was up to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), which had recently been called in to help probe the matter.
"Once a person has been found guilty [at an internal disciplinary hearing], and depending on the amount of money that is involved... definitely, there's got to be a mechanism to try and get that money... and bring it back. That's out first port of call.
"We are working in that regard with the SIU; we have recently engaged them. We know that they have methods and... strategies that they always apply in getting either [the money back] and, or, actually criminal charges pressed. So we'll do any of the two, whichever comes out to be the best in any of these cases," she said.
This would be the same Edna Molewa who thinks it takes water 40 minutes to get from "the top part of Eastern Cape down into the ocean"; timeslive.co.za/local/article976629.ece
At least we know you're good at firing people, even if you don't know anything much about water...