The DA is shocked and outraged by the new appointment of the Head of Department for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Siphokazi Ndudane, after theft allegations have come to light against her.
Ndudane, the former Deputy Director General of Fisheries at the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), was announced as one of four new HODs appointed by Premier Oscar Mabuyane earlier this week.
It has now come to light that just five days before the announcement by the Premier, her previous employer dismissed her after a disciplinary hearing found her guilty of stealing 3 tonnes of abalone valued at approximately R7 million from the DAFF storage facility in Cape Town.[SEE: Dismissal letter]
I challenge the Premier to explain to the public and the Legislature how this appointment can still stand. This is outrageous!
Ndudane has denied the allegations and claims she resigned before disciplinary hearing and the letter of dismissal was issued. The Premier, via his spokesperson, has said that Ndudane declared her protracted suspension over the allegations, but as she had not been found guilty at the time of the interviews, she was still an eligible candidate.
It must be noted that at the time of the interviews, even though she had not yet been fired, Ndudane faced 39 disciplinary charges of a serious nature, which included 37 counts of theft, 155 counts of fraud, extortion, forgery, and defeating the ends of justice, insubordination, and the contravention of section 217 (1) of the Constitution.
The DA is shocked that, in light of the above, the selection panel still felt that Ndudane was the best candidate to be placed as an accounting officer in charge of a department that is set to receive significant drought relief funding from the national fiscus. What were they thinking!
Do we really want someone who has now been found guilty of stealing from her previous employer in charge of dispersing funds to farmers in dire need as a result of the worst drought on record?
In light of these shocking revelations, I will be writing to the Premier to ask him to seriously reconsider this appointment.
I will also be following up with my Western Cape colleague, Beverley Shafer, who laid criminal charges against Ndudane while she was still at DAFF, and who reported her to the Public Prosecutor for further investigations
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