SWADE thwarts Doctor's farewell function plans
MBABANE – An attempt by former SWADE CEO Doctor Lukhele to bid farewell to his colleagues failed on Friday.
The former boss at the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprises had requested permission from Board Chairman Elias Ndwandwe but his wishes were not granted though it had been initially indicated that this would happen.
Lukhele wanted to officially say his goodbyes to the SWADE staff after the Supreme Court ruled that his contract had not been tacitly renewed by the company and, therefore, was not employed anymore.
Sources revealed that a function to have Lukhele bid the SWADE staff farewell was being arranged only for the plans to be cancelled at the last minute for unexplained reasons.
The Times has it in authority that SWADE staff was officially notified on Friday morning by management that the planned function had been cancelled.
Ndwandwe, when reached for comment, said he was aware of Lukhele’s intention as the former CEO communicated directly with him.
"He (Lukhele) requested to come to the office to bid the staff farewell and to also take his personal belongings which he left there. It, however, didn’t happen but I don’t know why because I wasn’t in the office," the Board chairman said.
He disputed that a big function had been organised for Lukhele to bid the staff farewell and insisted that it was supposed to be a small gathering in the organisation’s offices.
Ndwandwe wondered why this was being made a public issue as he felt it was internal.
"This is personal and I see no reason why we should discuss it," the chairman said.
Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini, whose portfolio is responsible for SWADE, said he was not aware of the farewell function.
"I will talk to the chairman to find out what happened. I would then expect a report from him. Otherwise I don’t know about it," Dlamini said.
The minister said he would be surprised if a party would have been planned on Lukhele’s behalf because relations between the ex-CEO and the organisation were not good.
This he said was because Lukhele had taken the organisation to court challenging the non-renewal of his contract.
"Besides, government banned hosting of parties in the first place. We don’t expect any parties to be thrown at government’s expense," Dlamini said.
Another impeccable source at SWADE said the intended farewell function did not materialise because the entire Board was not aware of it.
"It all happened at short notice; it wasn’t formal and wasn’t submitted to the Board, so it wasn’t approved," the source said.
Lukhele refused to comment when contacted and preferred that this reporter contact the person who told him the story.
Lukhele’s marriage with SWADE ended last week following a ruling by the Supreme Court to dismiss his appeal against a High Court judgment that found that he had never had a tacitly renewed contract with the parastatal.
He had taken the parastatal to court over his contract, which he argued had been tacitly renewed by his previous employer.
The matter started at the Industrial Court where Lukhele succeeded, but the organisation approached the High Court for a review, where it won.
However, Lukhele appealed the decision reached by Judge Bheki Maphalala who had found that the contract had not been renewed.
Lukhele had argued that the High Court had erred in law and fact by holding that the Industrial Court had erred in finding that his contract had been tacitly renewed.
Dishonesty charges preferred against former acting CEO
MBABANE – Charges of dishonesty over a E320 000 tender have been preferred against former SWADE acting CEO Gugulethu Hlophe.
The tender for business process mapping, review of job grading, job descriptions and remuneration review was awarded to Kobla Quashie Consulting (Pty) LTD.
According to documents in the possession of the Times newspaper, Hlophe is accused of failing to follow company instructions, standing orders, regulations and procedures when awarding the tender to KQ Consulting.
The ex-CEO is alleged to have breached Section 6 of the SWADE Financial Policies and Procedures and Sub-section 6.6 (the procedure for notification of engagement of consultants), Sub-section 6.7 (the procedure for engagement of consultants) and Sub-section 6.8 (the procedure for payment of consultants).
Hlophe is alleged to have "approved that KQ Consulting could be given a mobilisation advance amounting to 40 per cent of the contract fee and by so doing breached clause 6.8 ..."
Clause 6.8.1 reads: "Part of the contract conditions entered into with consultants may be payment of an advance to the consultants whose magnitude will have been agreed upon, and forming part of the consultancy agreement but not exceeding 20 per cent of contract sum."
Clause 6.8.2 reads: "This advance is to enable the consultant to mobilise resources in order to commence the agreed scope of works. The advance is repaid to SWADE within the tenure of the contract or such shorter period as may be agreed, through the consultant’s monthly invoices."
For failing to follow the above mentioned procedures either to management or Board of Directors, Hlophe was then charged with dishonesty alternatively concealing information or defective work.
She is said to have not disclosed this information "until concerns were raised by various stakeholders as to how Kobla Quashie Consulting (Pty) LTD had been appointed and supporting documentation thereof requested".
"Instead you were dishonest and gave false and/or misleading statements I, among other documents; your document dated to the Human Resources office dated September 23, 2011, your handwritten response to the acting Chief Executive Officer’s minute dated March 22, 2012, Board paper dated December 3, 2012 signed by yourself on December 19, 2012," the charges read.
The disciplinary hearing against Hlophe was slated to begin on April 26, 2012 at 2pm.
According to sources, the hearing is presently underway and nearing conclusion.
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