Clear the air, then take post

The appointment of former chief executive officer of the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita), Mavuso Msimang, as new director-general of the troubled Department of Home Affairs leaves much to be desired.

The appointment of former chief executive officer of the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita), Mavuso Msimang, as new director-general of the troubled Department of Home Affairs leaves much to be desired.

Last week cabinet approved Msimang's appointment - despite the fact that he is currently facing a R500000 lawsuit by his former personal assistant at Sita, Anastasia Wagner, for allegedly sexually harassing her. He allegedly asked her if she would be willing to "receive my sperm".

Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has come out in defence of Mavuso's appointment saying he should be presumed "innocent until proven guilty".

Legally, she is right. However, being a director-general of a department is a key position that requires an unblemished character.

In saying so, we do not presume guilt on his part, but a cloud hangs over him until he has been cleared. Individuals in such positions are expected to exude moral authority. Mavuso himself will not be able to exercise his fiduciary responsibility unencumbered while his image remains tarnished.

Mavuso must fight to have his name cleared before assuming his new role.

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