Unhappy Bhisho staff slate administration head’s ‘dictatorial’ style

Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle File picture: Eugene Coetzee
Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle
File picture: Eugene Coetzee

Working relations between the province’s director-general (DG) Marion Mbina-Mthembu and some senior administrators in premier Phumulo Masualle’s office are said to be at an all-time low.

Members from the office of the premier’s (OTP) senior management team revealed that some senior administrators were not happy with the Mbina-Mthembu’s leadership style.

They said tensions had been simmering for some time over her alleged dictatorial style of leadership and changes she had introduced since she took over the reins as provincial administration boss last year.

One of the recent casualties, premier’s office director of internal audit Julie Kriek resigned last month, citing unhappiness with Mbina-Mthembu’s leadership style.

As is the norm, Kriek thought she would serve out a month’s notice at work.

However, Mbina-Mthembu allegedly ordered her out of her office, saying she should serve her notice at home.

In a letter dated October 10,the director-general ordered Kriek to immediately vacate her office.

“As you have been holding a very strategic position in the OTP, and your exit interview clearly indicates the level of your unhappiness, especially with myself as the [DG], I believe it is to everyone’s best interest that you serve your notice at home,” she wrote.

Kriek confirmed she had resigned over differences between herself and Mbina-Mthembu.

“I had to go because I was finding it difficult to execute my duties due to differences I had with the DG,” was all Kriek would say.

She referred further questions to the department.

Last month, it was reported how premier’s office chief financial officer Nomawethu Ngcakani found herself in limbo five months after being cleared of any wrong doing by an internal probe.

Ngcakani was suspended earlier this year after being accused of mishandling a multimillion-rand telephone tender by allegedly paying the service provider in advance.

Times Media understands that Ngcakani was ordered to report to the provincial Department of Education head quarters in Zwelitsha by September 5, failing which Mbina-Mthembu threatened to withhold her salary.

It is understood that Ngcakanih as not reported to the department but has lodged a dispute with the Labour Court.

She could not be reached for comment.“She [DG] does things as she pleases. Her style of leadership is dictatorial,” one official said.

“She rules with an iron fist,as if [OTP] is her own farm. People are not at ease at the OTP as they are fearing for their jobs.”

Another said: “The rate at which she is getting some people from outside the province to take up senior posts here shows she has an agenda of removing most of us.” Mbina-Mthembu’s spokeswoman, Mandisa Titi, said yesterday that given the strategic nature of Kriek’s role, “the DG, in her capacity as accounting officer, exercised her prerogative to allow the lady to serve her notice at home”.

Asked about allegations of dictatorial rule, Titi said; “The nature of the work of a DG is such that she will, from time to time, make decisions that are not popular with the entire workforce.

“Hopefully, with time, the people who spoke to you anonymously will adjust to the style of the current DG and allow her the space to discharge her duties.”

 

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