Public Protector finds Sisulu guilty of maladministration and contravening the Constitution

Issued by Emma Louise Powell MP – DA Shadow Minister of Human Settlements
14 Apr 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Emma Louise Powell MP. Also find attached the Public Protector report and cover letter.

In a report released this week, the Public Protector found that the actions of Ms Lindiwe Sisulu constitute maladministration in terms of section 6(4)(a)(i) of the Public Protector Act, and improper conduct as envisaged by section 182(1)(a) of the Constitution.

In January 2020, the Democratic Alliance (DA) revealed that Minister Lindiwe Sisulu had established a state-funded “National Rapid Response Task Team (NRRTT)”. This task team was allegedly responsible for resolving housing and water related challenges across the Country.

Appointments included the likes of Chumane Maxwele – #RhodesMustFall leader; Nolonwabo Qunta – Social Media Analyst & Community Manager: Lindiwe Sisulu Presidential Campaign (2017); Nceba Maxwell Fuzani – ANCYL Eastern Cape Region Deputy Secretary-General; Shaun Edward Byneveldt – ex-Syrian Ambassador; Mogomotsi Mogodiri – ANC Gauteng: Scriptwriter to Provincial Chairperson; and Stephen Thami ka Plaatjie – Head of African National Congress Research 2013-2016.

The Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson were remunerated at a daily rate of R5 549.00 with ordinary members earning R4 317.00 per day.

Almost half of the NRRTT staffers did not submit CVs. In many instances, members assumed duties before receiving signed contracts.

All claims by the DA that the NRRTT was in fact a political campaign team, irregularly appointed at the taxpayer’s expense, were denied emphatically by Sisulu and dismissed as “false and malicious”.

In February 2020, the DA referred this matter to the Public Service Commission and the Public Protector for investigation.

Almost three years later, on 08 December 2022, section 7(9) Notices were delivered to President Ramaphosa to provide his office with an opportunity for responses on the likely adverse findings and proposed remedial action.

Minister Sisulu was subsequently axed from Cabinet, followed by the final release of this report.

Findings include:

  1. Despite attempts to solicit from Ms Sisulu the authority to exercise her power as she did, no such authority was availed to the Public Protector, leading to the conclusion that she acted ultra vires.
  2. The allegation that Ms Sisulu improperly appointed members of the NRRTT-DHS, is substantiated.
  3. There is no evidence of legislative prescripts which empowered Ms Sisulu to make the appointments of members of the NRRTT-DHS and in doing so, acted in contravention with the dictates of section 195(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  4. Therefore, the conduct of Ms Sisulu in this regard constitutes improper conduct as envisaged by section 182(1)(a) of the Constitution and maladministration in terms of section 6(4)(a)(i) of the Public Protector Act.

The Public Protector also found in respect of the Minister’s Advisory Committee established in terms of the Water Services Act that:

  • Three members, namely, Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi, Mr (Lulu) Johnson and Dr Maphazi, held various qualifications that could not be associated with water and sanitation. In this regard, it was not evident if the members appointed to the Sanitation Committee, save for Dr Kruger and Mr Nxumalo, had a proven and clear understanding and experience of South Africa’s water supply and sanitation services as contemplated in paragraph 4.1 of the ToR.

The Public Protector has now instructed President Ramaphosa and the Ministers of Human Settlements and Water and Sanitation to take cognisance of the irregularities resulting in maladministration and improper conduct during the appointment of members of the NRRTTs and to institute remedial action.

This is a victory for all South Africans as justice has finally prevailed.

The DA will continue to expose the rotten and corrupt ANC for exactly what they are, despite ongoing legal and personal threats.

We wish Sisulu well as she now pursues life as an ordinary South African, without the slush funds of executive office at her disposal