Members of staff in the private office of deputy minister of higher education Mduduzi Manana have defended their boss following a report at the weekend alleging he is a “boss from hell” who abuses his power.
The disgraced minister’s staff members in a statement on Sunday said they were “disturbed by the negative sentiments” shared by their former colleagues accusing Manana of temper tantrums, blackmail and blatant abuse, which reportedly stretch back at least five years.
“Whilst we respect their views, at no point have we encountered a situation where there was abuse in and around our work environment,” the group said.
“Our deputy minister is a man of integrity and high work ethic, very strict when it comes to work, and it is his track record and contribution towards the education of an African child that speaks volumes.”
The Sunday Times reported, among other allegations, Manana’s former head of office, Wonga Tabata, lodged a complaint in 2012 with the office of the public protector against the minister for abusing his power.
Tabata claimed Manana accused him of “being part of a political grouping that did not want him to succeed as deputy minister” and verbally attacked him apparently because he was allegedly playing “dirty political games”.
Manana faced two counts of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after beating two women at Cubana, in Fourways, in Johannesburg, last week Sunday. He appeared at Randburg Magistrates’ Court last Thursday, and was granted R5 000 bail.
The statement by the deputy minister’s staff said he ran his office with much efficiency and was “a leader of stern principles”. The group said he had always encouraged them to empower themselves with education.
“We will continue to constructively work with and support the deputy minister in his tireless efforts to educate and empower the nation,” the statement said.
The press release was signed by spokesperson Busiswa Gqangeni, personal assistant Thulisile Mabona, parliamentary liaison officer Mduduzi Gumede, protocol officer Calvin Nkosi and special projects officer Khalipha Dazela from Manana’s private office.