Cape Town – The official who blew the lid off massive mismanagement at the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), Donald Liphoko, is no longer at the entity.
Liphoko’s secondment to the MDDA as acting CEO has been rescinded by communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo, her spokesperson, Pheliswa Sebati, confirmed on Friday.
“The minister has asked Donald to stay on until Friday to handover to a new person that the [MDDA] board would have chosen to fill the position,” Sebati said. “Remember a secondment is not a permanent position.”
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Dlodlo seconded Liphoko to act as CEO of the MDDA on May 8.
Liphoko’s relationship with the board was fraught, culminating in a dramatic meeting of the portfolio committee on communications on August 29.
At this meeting, the board, led by its chairperson, Phelisa Nkomo, put much of the blame for the agency’s woes on Liphoko.
After Nkomo’s presentation, the committee gave Liphoko a chance to speak, and he blamed the board for mismanagement at the entity and said workers were being intimidated. The committee rejected the MDDA board’s presentation.
Three days after the meeting Liphoko reported a “very unusual event” at his house to the police after his gate’s motor was disabled. According to the subsequent security assessment, this modus operandi suggests that the intruders wanted him to get out of his car.
At a subsequent meeting of the portfolio committee on September 14, Dlodlo said the relationship between Nkomo and Liphoko, who was seconded by her to the MDDA in May, was “non-existent” and affected service delivery. She also said Liphoko did not execute assignments she gave him.
Deputy Minister of Communications Tandi Mahambehlala said Liphoko cancelled irregular contracts, and that was the reason the board had tried to fire him.
DA MP Veronica van Dyk noted that Liphoko’s secondment has been rescinded.
She said in a statement this follows allegations by the MDDA board that Liphoko had been guilty of misconduct.
“There were also allegations from Mr Liphoko that he was intimidated during his time at the agency, where he was not only locked out of his office but also illegally suspended from his position,” Van Dyk said.
“In recent weeks it has become evident that the MDDA is in a total state of dysfunction. This is why the DA supports the call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the MDDA.”
She said some of the DA’s major concerns about the current state of the MDDA were confirmed by the release of its annual report, these include:
– The agency’s deficit of R12.923m;
– Irregular expenditure currently stands at R6.715m; and
– The Auditor General’s finding that the accounting office didn’t have sufficient monitoring and oversight controls and that senior management did not have adequate controls of performance and compliance.
Next Friday the portfolio committee will meet to deliberate further on the matter before a decision will be made regarding instituting an inquiry into the MDDA.