Amatola Water Board fires supply chain boss for 'gross misconduct'

Supply chain manager Clayton Bhana has vowed to challenge the decision, saying it was 'absolute rubbish'

09 March 2021 - 19:47
By Mpumzi Zuzile
The Hawks have been conducting investigations into the affairs of Amatola Water.
Image: 123rf.com/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer The Hawks have been conducting investigations into the affairs of Amatola Water.

The Amatola Water Board has fired supply chain manager Clayton Bhana after a disciplinary hearing.

In a letter to Bhana, Amatola's acting CEO Portia Makhanya said: “In line with the recommendations by the chair of the disciplinary hearing, we hereby notify you that we have accepted the recommendations. I accordingly, notify you ... that you are hereby summarily dismissed from your employment with Amatola Water.”

TimesLIVE has been seen a copy of the letter.

Makhanya adds in the letter: “You are accordingly requested to return all of the properties of Amatola Water in your possession including but not limited to all documents or files by end 12 March 2021.”

In the letter Makhanya also informs Bhana that the outcome of the disciplinary had been handed over to the SIU and the Hawks.

“The SIU is conducting specific investigations into Amatola Water procurement irregularities. Furthermore, you may also be aware that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), have also been conducting investigations into the affairs of Amatola Water.

“Kindly be advised that the findings on merits and sanction of the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing will be furnished to SIU and Hawks,” Makhanya said.

Bhana was shocked when contacted by TimesLIVE, saying he had not yet been informed of the disciplinary outcome.

“I am going to challenge this. This is absolute rubbish. I will go to the CCMA to clear my name,” Bhana said. He said he went to the hearing to clear his name and did not resign, like others had.

Bhana was fired on a gross misconduct charge over emergency procurement of rainwater tanks for Butterworth, which could have lost the water utility R13.5m. The alleged misconduct was linked to the entity’s case against its former CEO Vuyo Zitumane.

Bhana was slapped with six charges, mostly related to gross misconduct or dereliction of duty.

He was dismissed for circumventing emergency procurement procedures, and breached the Public Finance Management Act, Treasury regulations and supply chain management (SCM) policy when he “unlawfully caused, and/or facilitated and/or condoned the appointment of two companies for the provision of rainwater harvesting”.

A leaked April report into the financial standing of Amatola Water alleges that Bhana was involved in the manipulation of tender pricing and supply chain management processes.

Last month human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu appointed new board members of Amatola Water.

They include Mncedisi Malotana, Buhle Tonise, Abraham Pieter le Roux, Mosidi Makgae, Zamikhaya Xalisa, Nkosazana NomaXhosa Jongilanga, Gaathier Mahed, Tabiso Wana, Mxolisi Joe Skosana, Makgobi Ramushu and Lebogang Letsoale. ​

The appointment comes after the cabinet approved the appointment of water utility board members for four years, starting from March 1 2021.

The stability of Amatola Water is in your hands. The people of the Eastern Cape including the business community have been experiencing severe drought for years; they count on you to come up with solutions that will change their lives for the better. Serve them with honour and dignity,” said Sisulu.

Amatola's spokesperson, Nosisa Sogayise, did not  respond to SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE as she was in meetings.

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