The Limpopo government is in need of a super hero to fill the Director-General’s hot seat after Rachel Molepo-Modipa’s dismissal last week. Her successor would be expected to possess characteristics topped by a powerfull combination of political credentials and the required administrative acumen.
Names of possible candidates are already being punted for the position left vacant by the move.
It was reliably learnt that a senior general manager in the Department of Provincial Treasury and a former Head of Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) are firm favourites for the position.
After nearly two years of being suspended the case against Molepo-Modipa was concluded with last week’s dismissal.
Molepo-Modipa was initially suspended on 28 October 2013 to allow for investigations into allegations of misconduct against her. According to information she was charged and the investigation conducted by senior officials from outside the province. The matter apparently stemmed from hearings against officials charged with misconduct for doing business with the state or doing other remunerative work besides their duties within the government sphere. The hearings were concluded and the officials found guilty and were warned. Molepo-Modipa, however, allegedly changed the sanctions and the officials were suspended. The officials took the state to court and the state lost the case with costs, according to information. Molepo-Modipa then reportedly sought legal opinion again.
Michael Mathebe, Provincial Commander of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) expressed the hope that Premier Stan Mathabatha would not make a cadre deployment or appoint a corrupt person to fill the position, but appoint a capable, skilled person with proper qualifications. He said the fact that Molepa-Modipa was paid during her suspension was wasteful expenditure from the side of the government.
Langa Bodlani, Democratic Alliance (DA) Legislature Member and DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Public Administration welcomed Molepo-Modipa’s dismissal, as she has been on suspension with full pay at the expense of taxpayers. “The lengthy period that the case took to finalise means that the taxpayers’ money was wasted by paying both the current acting DG plus Ms Molepo-Modipa’s full salary while she stayed at home. This is public funds which could have been used for service delivery,” he said. “If there was any basis of illegality on the part of Ms Molepo-Modipa, Premier Mathabatha must now lay criminal charges against her. This will demonstrate that corruption and maladministration have no place in Limpopo. It will boost clean governance and good leadership this province must strive for.” He said the Premier should not miss the opportunity to set an example to other senior government officials who siphon off public money for illegal and irregular ends and to prove that there will be dire consequences for such actions.
Provincial Government spokesperson Phuti Seloba said the position of DG would continue to be filled by the acting DG, Dr Phuti Pheme until a permanent replacement was appointed. Seemingly the position would not be filled by Pheme, as he is apparently nearing retirement age and would possibly retire by the end of August.