'Mohlala was not dismissed'
MAMODUPI Mohlala-Mulaudzi was not fired through a newspaper advert highlighting a vacancy for her job, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said yesterday.
Briefing the media in Parliament, Davies sought to quell reports that Mohlala-Mulaudzi had been axed as the national consumer commissioner.
"Ms Mohlala-Mulaudzi's tenure as a commissioner of the National Consumer Commission was set to expire on 3 September 2012," he said.
Davis said the commissioner had been notified in February that her term would come to an end, but that she was welcome to re-apply once the interviewing process started.
The department had chosen not to extend the contract in the interest of good governance.
He said there had been some hiccups in the commission while Mohlala-Mulaudzi was at the helm.
These included the Auditor-General raising serious concerns about the financial management of the commission. This was evidenced by errors being detected wherein reports from one month to the end did not balance.
Davies said the AG had attempted to engage with the commission, but found a lack of co-operation and he had been forced to intervene. He said there had also been a "litany" of concerns raised by DTI employees who had been moved over to help with the smooth running of the commission. "Many of those people in fact asked to come back after a short time," said Davies.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi has since refuted the claims about working conditions and proffered her own list of staff that were happy .
Despite no presumption of wrongdoing, Mohlala-Mulaudzi refused to co-operate with investigators tasked to look into the allegations, Davies said.
He said despite the above, and even if Mohlala-Mulaudzi was the perfect candidate, he would not have extended a person's contract without going through a formal interviewing process.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi has since filed papers in the high court.
She claims that she was losing her job because she reported the department's Director-General Lionel October to the public protector over allegations that the commission's budget had been deliberately cut.
However, Davies said there was no merit to the reports, as the budgets were allocated based on what the various departments requested.
He also said that should Mohlala-Mulaudzi re-apply for the position, both he and October had indicated they would not sit on the interviewing panel.
Consumer commissioner 'pushed'
NATIONAL Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi's wars with her superiors in government seemingly continue despite her good record as a watchdog of the underdogs.
After her well-documented clash with former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda when she was Communications Department director general, Mohlala-Mulaudzi is now pitted against the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) director-general Lionel October.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi fights against business heavyweights on behalf of consumers, hence her surprise that the DTI wants her out when she is breaking new ground in the protection of consumers against unscrupulous business practices .
The DTI insists that Mohlala-Mulaudzi must go when her five-year contract expires in August.
She says the DTI told her in February that her contract would not be renewed, but she has always questioned this stance.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi believes the DTI bosses want her out because in the job she has done, she has stepped on the toes of many powerful people.
She also alleges that her complaint to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela over "unacceptable behaviour" by October towards her is the reason that she is being kicked out.
In March she complained to Madonsela that she was deprived of full control of the finances in that the money allocated to the National Consumer Commission (NCC) was not transferred into its bank account until September 2011. This was more than six months after the commission was established.
"It was after Madonsela agreed to investigate allegations I had submitted to her office that the department advertised my post," she said.
"Look at this sequence of events and draw the line. Why is this post being advertised in May while my contract only comes to an end in September? It doesn't make sense.
"I also wonder why my post was advertised just a week after the public protector agreed that there was sufficient evidence to probe my concerns further," said Mohlala-Mulaudzi.