Top engineer found guilty of contravening the PFMA keeps his job

12 May 2022 in Press Statements

Thabang Nkadimeng, chief engineer of roads in Lejweleputswa district in the Free State, was found guilty of contravening section 45(c) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and other charges of “dishonesty and dereliction of duties”, yet kept his job. The disciplinary hearing presiding officer sanctioned him to one month unpaid leave.

Section 45(c) of the PFMA states that “an official in a department, trading entity or constitutional institution must take effective and appropriate steps to prevent, within that official’s area of responsibility, any unauthorised expenditure, irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful expenditure and any under collection of revenue due.”

This is according to a written reply by the Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, William Bulwane, to a question of the Democratic Alliance in the Free State Provincial Legislature.

Along with Nkadimeng, five other officials were also charged and found guilty, but are still in their positions:

  • Mr W.O. Lekwene (engineer) was found guilty for the contravention of the PFMA section 45(c) and dishonesty. He has been given a one month suspension without pay and a final written warning.
  • Mr J.J. Mosai (engineer) was found guilty for the contravention of the PFMA section 45(c), alternatively negligence. He received a final written warning.
  • Mr Z.J. Oplet was found guilty for the contravention of the PFMA section 45(c) and dishonesty. He got a final written warning.
  • Mr L.G. Mohapi was found guilty for the contravention of the PFMA section 45(c) and dishonesty. He got a final written warning.
  • Mr T.J. Mosianedi was found guilty of contravening the PFMA section 45(c). He got a final written warning.

The department admits that it is within its powers, where it is not satisfied with the outcome of the disciplinary hearings and the sanction, to invoke the provisions of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 to request a review of this decision, but the department decided against this. The department is therefore satisfied with these officials getting just a slap on the wrist.

This flies in the face of every bit of lip service the ANC has paid under the Ramaphosa presidency to rid the civil service of corruption that impacts negatively on poor services. Free State roads are falling apart and every day more people’s lives are put at risk just by using these roads. Yet, dishonesty and the failure of public servants to act in the best interest of the public is tolerated.

I will submit a PAIA application to the department’s information officer in order to acquire the hearing documents so that we can establish exactly what the details of the misconduct was and, should there be any evidence of fraudulent activities, the DA will lay criminal charges against individuals.