Battle for Sita intensifies as minister fights reinstatement of Mosidi

This week, while the chairwoman of the dismissed board members campaigned for reinstatement, the struggle for the control of the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita) intensified. Their attempts were, however, blocked by Communications Minister Mondli Gungubele, who declared that he intended to appeal the ruling that reinstated Makano Mosidi, the fired chairwoman, and the other two directors.

This follows the dissolved Sita board members, Mosidi, Olwethu Ketsekile and Rendani Ramabulani, winning an interim injunction to be reinstated.

In a letter seen by Sunday World, Mosidi requested that the company secretary write a memo asking for a meeting with the minister “as soon as possible as we retake responsibility”.

Sunday World discovered that Gungubele intends to file an appeal against the high court decision that mandated the reinstatement of the three directors.

Simphiwe Dzengwa, the acting managing director made this revelation in a letter that was leaked to Sunday World and was addressed to Mosidi.

Tsholofelo Bodlani, a member of parliament for the Democratic Alliance, added that Gungubele’s plan to appeal the decision has been communicated to the portfolio committee.

Following the backlash over Dr Bongani Mabaso’s hiring as chief executive on a contract worth R4.5 million annually, which was over the company’s salary range, Gungubele dismissed the board members.

“I have taken prompt action to respond to and action your email,” Dzengwa stated.

“After speaking with the minister, I’ve been told to reply as follows: ‘It is being appealed, and the appeal is to be made today [Monday], at the latest, tomorrow morning.”

Kiruben Pillay, the chairperson, Lerato Petlele, Nolitha Pietersen, Khathu Sibanda, Lucienne Abrahams, Mandla Mnisi, and Luvuyo Keyise, are the current board members.

“The minister also requested that you contact his office directly or through your attorneys if you would like to speak with him. The company secretary shall follow directions from the current board of directors until a court order specifies otherwise to prevent any misunderstanding and instability of Sita’s regular governance operations.

The directors said that Gungubele’s appeal does not bar their reinstatement on Tuesday, taking the battle to the state attorney’s office.

“Your letter has led us to believe that the main reason you filed the application for leave to appeal is to have the order of February 2, 2024, suspended.

Thato Manala, the directors’ lawyer, wrote, “We therefore like to advise you that your application for leave to appeal the order does not stop the order, and consequently the order remains enforceable.”

When Sunday World asked if Dzengwa was right to relay Gungubele’s message to Makano, Sita head of corporate affairs Tlali Tlali said Dzengwa had addressed communication from Makano, who had emailed the MD’s office.

“What the acting MD has done does not contradict anything or violate the court order. All he did was lay out a general description of the procedures that were expected to take place in relation to whether the court order was implemented.

“It follows the appeal process suspends the operation of the order until the appeal has been finalised, as the decision had been made to appeal the ruling and the process of submitting the papers with the court already started,” Tlali stated.

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