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Tshwane South College principal in Mkhwebane's radar

By Bongani Nkosi | 2017-04-20 12:50:50.0

A Tshwane South College (TSC) principal is in hot water for alleged maladministration, corruption and staff harassment.

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has directed the Department of Higher Education and Training to consider instituting disciplinary action against Joseph Chiloane.

In a new report, Mkhwebane has detailed how Chiloane allegedly went on a witch-hunt against employees who blew the whistle on corruption and maladministration at the institution in 2008.

The public protector probed a complaint brought on behalf of over 90 former TSC employees allegedly axed by Chiloane.

Under an internal structure called TSC Forum, employees complained to then MEC of education in Gauteng, Angie Motshekga.

Chiloane was suspended from his position following a forensic investigation carried out by a team assembled by Motshekga.

But Motshekga's successor, Barbara Creecy, reinstated Chiloane based on legal advice she received.

The advice apparently indicated dire flaws in the forensic report compiled by Motshekga's team.

Mkhwebane found that, after reinstatement, Chiloane subjected several of the employees, who were behind the complaint to Motshekga, to disciplinary action.

"It is logical to accept that the principal acted in vengeance, to remove [from] TSC, all those who were instrumental in the submission of the dossier to the erstwhile MEC Motshekga," said Mkhwebane.

She said the allegation that Chiloane victimised TSC employees by disciplinary action was substantiated.

"The conduct of the principal in this regard constitutes abuse of power," Mkhwebane said.

"Those who are no longer employed by TSC are unable to find employment in other colleges, as the TSC has blacklisted them on the public servants payroll system, Persal.

"These complainants are now living in poverty," she said.

Mkhwebane wants to institute an inquiry aimed at reviewing the dismissals.

"The inquiry should also explore the possibility of compensating members of the TSC Forum that suffered prejudice through dismissals and disciplinary actions, if it is found that they have suffered occupational detriment as a result of the protected disclosure [to Motshekga]," said the report.

According to the report, Chiloane denied that he victimised and harassed TSC employees. He also argued the TSC Forum was not a recognised structure, but consisted of "rebellious" employees.

Spokesman of the department, Madikwe Mabotha, told Sowetan they received a copy of the report this week. "We have to go through it, then respond to the public protector."

Chiloane hits back

"That report is seriously misleading. That report is one-sided."

These were the words of an exasperated Joseph Chiloane, principal of Tshwane South College (TSC), on the public protector's report pointing fingers at him.

"I'm going to challenge that report on the basis that it is factually incorrect."

He said the employees were fired for serious misconduct.

"If you go through that report, you find a statement that says these people were victimised because they reported me to the former MEC [Angie Motshekga]," said Chiloane.

"But in that very same report there's a paragraph that says these people damaged my personal car and the property of the institution [during a strike]. They damaged these things during the course of their employment in the college.

"Are you then saying if people do that and they are seen - they cannot be taken to task?

"I can account about every individual in that report. I can tell you what they did, which the public protector's report does not show."