'tender is cause of problem'

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Head of Kwazulu-Natal's department of agriculture and environment affairs, Modidima Mannya, yesterday refused to be drawn into allegations that he was suspended because he terminated an R18million tender linked to government officials.

Mannya was suspended last week pending a disciplinary hearing into his style of management.

Mannya told Sowetan yesterday that he had instead cancelled a contract worth the same amount with a company responsible for the rehabilitation of dip tanks in rural areas.

"I did so because proper tender procedures were not followed," Mannya said.

The company has now taken the matter to court.

Mannya conceded that his "sudden suspension" might be linked to his role as accounting officer and some of his decisions which were opposite to those "wanted by the MEC".

"There are times where the MEC and others would like to deliver something and, as the accounting officer, I have to ensure that the terms of the Public Finance Management Act are followed.

"It's unfortunate that after 13 years of our democracy people fail to understand how government works. I cannot break the law because the MEC wants me to do so," Mannya said.

Sources within the department claim relations between senior managers and Mannya had become "intolerable".

"Many managers complained that Mannya's decisions were not in keeping with the government's service delivery mandate and that he [Mannya] made decisions without taking into consideration delivery deadlines. There was no room for discussion," a source said.

Many disgruntled staffers allegedly took their complaints to the premier's office.

They said it was the cancellation of this project that allegedly triggered the investigation into Mannya.

But they believe that it was not because of the alleged link to government leaders but because the decision "went against his senior managers".

Agriculture department spokesman Mbulelo Baloyi said he could not comment because the company was contesting the matter in court.

"I'm suspended for reasons I don't even know," Mannya said.