Outgoing department head accuses Cogta’s Xasa of defamation
Outgoing social development department head Stanley Khanyile has threatened to sue his former political boss, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Fikile Xasa, and accused him of defamation of character.
Khanyile said yesterday he had already instructed his attorneys to institute legal action against Xasa.
He said Xasa had tarnished his image by being “economical with the truth”.
This comes after Xasa alleged last week that Khanyile was involved in various financial transgressions while heading administration at Cogta, allegations which Khanyile has since described as “utter nonsense”, meant to “attack my integrity and tarnish my image”.
Xasa and his department spokesman, Mamnkeli Ngam, could not be reached at the time of writing yesterday to respond to the legal threat by Khanyile.
Earlier this month, Khanyile resigned as social development head, citing strained working relations between him and his boss, Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi. His last day in office is on Wednesday.
Khanyile also left Cogta in a huff in 2015 after he was “reshuffled” to social development by premier Phumulo Masualle, amid labour unrest and differences between him and Xasa while he was still at that department.
One of the allegations Xasa made last week was that Khanyile had transferred R13-million to the Matatiele Municipality to assist the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) in its operations ahead of the general election in 2014 – money that Xasa said was never accounted for.
He said this was unearthed after a Cogta-sanctioned probe conducted by the national The MEC also accused Khanyile of working in cahoots with a service provider, Umnotho Business Consulting, to siphon money from the province.
Xasa told Times Media last week that Umnotho was contracted by various provincial municipalities to conduct forensic investigations at the behest of Khanyile, without proper procurement procedures being followed, and while they had “no requisite competency to do the job”.
He described the KwaZuluNatal-based Umnotho as a “bogus company led by criminals”, allegations that have since been denied by the company owners.
Times Media can also reveal the amount sent to Matatiele in that period by Cogta was R8.6-million, and not R13-million, as claimed by Xasa.
It was to be used for vehicle hire, employment of admin support, lamps for voting stations, helicopter hire for intervention and delivery of voting material to inaccessible voting stations, tents and toilet hire to accommodate 4 615 presiding officers and accommodation for IEC staff.
Matatiele Municipality has since confirmed the amount allocated to the municipality was R8.6-million and that it had been accounted for.
Times Media has seen documents showing how much had been transferred.
Matatiele spokeswoman Olwethu Ngwanya said on Friday all the money was used adequately and had been accounted for and that “the auditor-general could have picked it up if there were any irregularities”.
Yesterday, she refused to comment further on the matter, except to say: “The mayor [Momelezi Mbedla] has received a report from the MEC, which he is still studying, and will only be able to respond on its contents later in the week.”
IEC provincial electoral officer Thamsanqa Mraji could not be reached yesterday.
However, in a letter to Matatiele dated May 20 2014, he sends his “appreciation for efficient services” received.
“All these services were rendered in a diligent and competent manner, complying with the tight timeframes.”
Khanyile, whom Xasa said was being probed by the Hawks and the Assets Forfeiture Unit for alleged transgressions and could face imminent arrest, said yesterday his name was being dragged through the mud unnecessarily.
Khanyile confirmed that he had only approved the transfer of R8.6-million to Matatiele after the IEC had requested such funds and after recommendations by senior officials at his former department.
“These allegations are very disturbing. They are unfounded, nowhere near the truth and are not supported by any evidence,” Khanyile said.
“I have gone through a lot in this province and will not take this one lying down. This cannot be an end to this.”
He said the national Treasury probe had not pointed to any irregularities committed by him and that he had nothing to do with how the Matatiele money was spent.