DA welcomes long overdue PP probe into KZN Social Development HOD appointment

Issued by Mmabatho Tembe, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on Social Development
17 May 2024 in Press Statements

The DA welcomes the announcement that the Public Protector (PP) will probe allegations of irregularity relating to the 2020 appointment of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Social Development (DSD) HOD, Nelisiwe Vilakazi.

According to reports, the PP has requested documents from the Office of the Premier (OTP) which oversees such appointments. The move comes amid claims by former HOD, Nokhuthula Khanyile that;

• Vilakazi was appointed despite not having applied for or being interviewed for the position and;

• That she, Khanyile was the best candidate for the position but was overlooked for ulterior reasons.

At the time, KZN’s OTP stated that Khanyile’s employment contract was not being terminated to allow her to co-operate with a forensic investigation. This after allegations from some DSD employees during her tenure as HOD.

However, despite five years having passed since the investigation began, the OTP has yet to make any findings public.

It is untenable that such a critical service department should be in such a state. KZN government department HODs are appointed by the OTP and the buck stops with Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and her department.

The DA calls on her to deal with this ongoing mess swiftly and decisively. Legal battles, blame games and divisions within DSD are having a devastating effect on KZN’s most vulnerable citizens.

The latest claims follow a series of leadership and operational crises within this department.

Last year, the DA received information via a series of whistleblowers. One of these was a leaked OTP forensic report containing information regarding allegations of nepotism and financial irregularities involving Vilakazi.

The report recommended disciplinary action against the HOD yet to date, there is no evidence of this. This points to an OTP that cannot be relied upon to deal with issues swiftly and without bias.

The DA will continue to monitor the progress made by the PP when it comes to Vilakazi’s appointment.

The people of our province can no longer suffer under an ANC government that places the protection of its cadres ahead of service delivery. When they go to the polls on 29 May, they will have the opportunity to install a government that cares.