DG woes for Didiza, Cyril

Mike Mlengana’s shortcomings laid bare in damning PSC report

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza are facing more headaches in connection with another “rogue” director-general (DG) in her department.

This is a€er the Public Service Commission (PSC) found that the DG of the former department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Mike Mlengana, drove
the department to ruin and displayed

“an overall failure and lack of leadership to manage the DAFF”.

The public service watchdog said Mlengana failed, among others, in his handling of issues of discipline in the department,did not pay suppliers in  30 days as required and could not arrest the decline in performance.

Mlengana also failed to implement recommendations of forensic reports and did not manage conflicts of interest in reports he was implicated in.

“The department under his leadership had to return R30-million to the National Treasury after failing to use it to establish a monitoring and  evaluation unit to assist in the support of upcoming farmers,” the PSC report, dated November 7, says.

“The PSC is seriously concerned by the toxic, divisive, factionalised and unprofessional environment within the department. This report does show some of the most unprofessional conduct by the responses of some of the employees to the outcomes of the PSC’s investigation,” the report states.

The PSC called on Didiza to hand over copies of the report to the Hawks, the special investigating unit and the public protector.

In June, Ramaphosa merged rural development and land reform with agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Didiza became the new minister of the merged department while Mlengana came from the agriculture department and Mdu Shabane was the DG of rural development.

Senzeni Zokwana was the previous minister of agriculture and has fallen out with Mlengana.

Sunday World has reported that the department has failed to initiate disciplinary action against Shabane, nine months after Ramaphosa gave permission
for the move and over two years after the SIU made the recommendation, after he was found guilty of financial misconduct.

The courts have ruled that the president is responsible for initiating disciplinary action against a DG, and could delegate powers to a minister to handle the process.

Last month, the PSC reminded Didiza that it was her responsibility to refer the report to Ramaphosa and Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo

The department had not responded to questions by the time of going to press.

By George Matlala

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