GP transport head contract won't be renewed

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Johannesburg - The employment contract of Gauteng Roads and Transport Head of Department, Benedicta Monama, is not going to be renewed.

This comes after allegations that arose from findings contained in the Auditor-General (AG) report commissioned by Roads and Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi.

Making the announcement on Thursday in Johannesburg, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said they are also not going to retain or offer her employment in the provincial government.

"As the provincial government, we view the allegations levelled against Ms Benedicta Monama in a very serious light.

"In the best interests of the department and to act swiftly against the alleged maladministration and address the identified systematic issues, we have taken the decision not to renew the employment contract of Monama as Head of Department of Roads and Transport or retain her in the employ of the Gauteng provincial government," she said.

Some of the charges against Monama include the alleged disregard of advice from the provincial Treasury not to commit the department to extend certain contracts.

The findings identified systematic shortcomings in the department, which allowed for Monama to allegedly to unilaterally entering into agreements with service providers without following due process as prescribed in the Public Finance Management Act.

Mokonyane said the AG's report also led to the break-down of the relationship between Monama and MEC Vadi.

However, both Vadi and Mokonyane said no criminal case will be opened against Monama.

She further said since they received the report, they undertook extensive consultations with relevant MECs and senior counsel and considered legal opinion before them.

"We've thought through all options available and concluded that retaining Monama within the provincial government would not have been in the best interests of the people of Gauteng, who deserve quality service delivery and accountability at all times," she said.

Mokonyane said they believe that major projects such as the Pinehaven Interchange, the upgrade of William Nicol Drive and Sharpeville road, with a potential to create much needed jobs, should not be compromised.

According to the Premier, no company had started doing work on the projects because no contacts were signed between government and the service providers in question.

She said as an immediate intervention, all of these contracts are going to be the subject of engagements between the provincial government, through the Departments of Finance, Roads and Transport and the affected parties in pursuit of a lasting solution.

"We have taken seriously the issues raised by the AG and I have asked the department to put a proper system in place and tighten issues of governance in the management of public funds, including contract management," Mokonyane said.

She also announced that the department's finance division Head of Department, Stewart Lumka, will step in as the acting Head of Department of Roads and Transport until a suitable replacement is appointed.

"Corruption threatens to undermine the gains made in improving people's lives. We must tackle corruption wherever, it manifests itself, without fear or favour.

"We must have the capacity to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption in the public or private sector," she said.

According to Mokonyane, Monama's employment contract came to an end on July 31.