Revealing mounting evidence of maladministration in the Independent Development Trust

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP and Sello Seitlholo MP –
03 Jul 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Samantha Graham-Maré MP.

After more than a year of engaging with various stakeholders within the Independent Development Trust (IDT), I have written a letter to Minister Sihle Zikalala to bring attention to several allegations of maladministration within the organisation.

One of the main concerns is the potential lack of a formal contract or delegation for Acting CEO Ms Tebogo Malaka since October 2021. If this is indeed the case, it raises serious doubts about the validity of all decisions and actions taken by her in her role as Acting CEO.

Additionally, her substantial salary, amounting to approximately R2.8 million per annum, appears to have been self-determined based on her predecessor’s salary, despite her apparent lack of experience in managing a complex organisation.

Ms Malaka’s tenure as the Chief Accounting Officer of the IDT has been marred by issues. Under her leadership, the IDT embarked on a process to lease a new office building without following proper procurement procedures or obtaining approval from the Board. This process has since been halted.

Numerous insiders have indicated the existence of a culture of fear and victimisation within the IDT. This is further substantiated by the significant number of unfair dismissal cases, resulting in legal fees exceeding R8 million and employee compensation reaching R12 million.

The fact that both the Acting CEO and the CFO have resorted to employing personal bodyguards speaks volumes about the organisation’s failing internal governance. No employee should have to protect themselves in their place of work.

It is deeply troubling that the Board of the IDT, entrusted with ensuring the organisation functions as a competent social infrastructure implementing body, has failed to address the issue of an unaccountable temporary CEO with unrestricted powers, whom they appointed internally. They have also been unable to curb the fruitless and wasteful expenditure under the current Acting CEO and have not succeeded in transforming the entity into a self-sufficient organization, as mandated.

While the Minister has agreed to our request for a forensic investigation into the affairs of the IDT, it is now imperative for him to take decisive action against the Board appointed by his predecessor and their choice of Acting CEO. Addressing the governance, financial, and resource challenges faced by the organisation requires stronger measures. Failure to do so will lead the DA to propose dissolving the IDT through the Board or, if necessary, urging the Minister to dissolve the Board itself.

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