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By unknown | Apr 09, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sacked Commission of Gender Equality head Chana Majake has staged a Zuma-like comeback with the dramatic resignation announcement of her erstwhile chairperson and chief tormentor, Nomboniso Gasa.

Sacked Commission of Gender Equality head Chana Majake has staged a Zuma-like comeback with the dramatic resignation announcement of her erstwhile chairperson and chief tormentor, Nomboniso Gasa.

Majake has laid a damning complaint against Gasa with the public protector, sparking a joint investigation by the protector and the auditor-general into the CGE under Gasa's tenure.

Staff have accused Gasa of waging a reign of terror during a term that saw disgruntled senior managers and commissioners fleeing the CGE in droves.

Majake is also challenging in court her summary dismissal last month without a disciplinary hearing. The case is set down for the Gauteng South high court for April 17.

But Majake says that might take too long. She insists Gasa should be put on leave while serving her three-month notice period. Although Parliament accepted Gasa's resignation last week, it insisted she serve out her notice.

It's been a dramatic turnaround for Majake, nearly a year after she was frog-marched by security guards out of the CGE's offices.

Gasa resigned dramatically on Thursday evening last week.

Parliament heard complaints from staffers and commissioners behind closed doors on Friday.

CGE staff claim Gasa has bankrupted the organisation with prodigal commissions paid to consultants who delivered very little in two expensive exercises that failed to sort out the ailing CGE's problems or improve its public image.

Earlier revelations showed that Gasa had overpaid Four Rivers Trading by R2,8million to conduct an "organisational diagnosis" that was tendered for R1,2million. Senior staff members also claimed that Gasa also overpaid another company, Cut to Black, by R1,8million to redesign the CGE logo. The logo job was supposed to cost just R600000, but the company eventually received R2,4million.

Most of this happened while the CGE stuttered along for almost an entire year without a chief executive or chief financial officer.

Senior staffers say this seemed to have been a deliberate ploy to prevent any proper oversight at the CGE, most particularly of its books.

Although a qualified deputy director was ready to take over as acting chief financial officer, Gasa refused to appoint him. Staff say the deputy, a Zimbabwean, was threatened with deportation after questions were raised about the failure to appoint him.

When Gasa appointed a chief executive at the beginning of the year, he stayed for just six weeks, signed off the commission's financials and then pocketed a R200000 salary before resigning under pressure from staff members.

They refused to believe that the six-week incumbent, David Tshedi, could have examined, assessed and understood in such a short space of time the books of an organisation with offices in all nine provinces.

Now staff say they have to pay for CGE travel expenses out of their own pockets because the commission's garage cards aren't accepted any more.

Majake accuses Gasa of abuse of office and "using improper means of attaining her goals".

Majake says Gasa, during her tenure, made "misleading public and internal statements containing innuendoes that undermined my credibility in the name of the gagged CGE staff".

One of these statements included Gasa's claim in a Sunday newspaper that Majake had created a secret R10million bank account of CGE money while she was chief executive.

But senior managers supported Majake's protests that the creation of the account had been above board and done with the full knowledge of the CGE.

"The commission's money was being kept in an ordinary savings account that attracted no interest, so it was decided to change it to an investment account. That's the long and the short of it: it was a simple business decision; it doesn't make sense to have all that money sitting around earning nothing," a staff member said.

Workers in the accounts department say Gasa burdened the CGE with just two contracts that jointly slashed R6,2million off its R10million positive balance.

The rest was allegedly frittered away on expense claims, unauthorised travel expenses, including flights for her favourites and relatives, rendering the commission bankrupt. - Motswako News Agency


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