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Public Enterprises disputes allegations by DG Kgathatso Tlhakudi

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The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) says it has noted with “extreme” disappointment reports quoting the suspended Director-General Kgathatso Tlhakudi accusing Minister Pravin Gordhan of unlawfully removing him from his position.

“He asserts this was because he was an obstacle to a programme involving the sale of South African Airways. The allegations, which are disputed, are most unfortunate and it is essential that due process take its course,” a statement issued on Thursday night read.

However, according to the department, Tlhakudi was placed on precautionary suspension pending a disciplinary hearing. 

This comes after a complaint was laid with the Public Service Commission (PSC) about his alleged unethical behaviour concerning the recruitment process for Director: Security and Facilities Management.

“The Minister received a letter from the PSC recording the complaint and requesting the Minister to investigate.”

According to the department, it then secured the services of a senior investigator to probe the allegations. 

“The investigation report recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the DG and referred to the President in terms of the Public Service Act 1994, which provides that the appointment and career incidents of a head of a national department shall be dealt with by the President,” the statement explained.

According to the department, the President delegated the matter to Minister Ronald Lamola to take disciplinary steps.

“Having considered the matter, the department said Lamola decided to place the DG on precautionary suspension, required that he hand over all work-related tools and instituted a disciplinary process against him.”

The department said it was unfortunate that his matter has attracted adverse media attention.

“Minister Gordhan welcomes the opportunity to submit his affidavit to the Labour Court where the matter will be properly ventilated.”

The department has since described Gordhan as a dedicated public servant whose service to the country and record of accomplishment speaks for itself.

“The Minister will not be deterred from testing alleged corruption and other malfeasance within State-owned companies and within his department without fear, favour or prejudice.”

According to reports, Tlhakudi has filed papers at the Labour Court in a bid to be reinstated.

The department said further updates can be obtained from the Minister of Justice and Correctional Service’s Office. – SAnews

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