News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
7 Mar 2018
4:49 pm

Troubled TCTA water entity appoints new acting CEO

Gosebo Mathope

The new CEO was a late appointment to the board and his inclusion was never approved by Cabinet.

Muziwandile Msizi Chonco, TCTA Board Member and acting CEO. Facebook.

The chairperson at the Trans-Caledonian Tunnel Authority (TCTA) Zodwa Manase this morning appointed board member Muziwandile Msizi Chonco as the acting chief executive officer.

This follows the resignation of the former acting CEO, Leonard Radzuma, after 16 months on the job because of what whistle-blowers allege was frustration.

In her response, Manase told The Citizen Radzuma had simply stepped down and would be returning to his substantive position as the chief risk officer of the organisation.

Sources close to the matter have, however, raised eyebrows at Chonco’s appointment, as they had previously alleged this was the same board member whose appointment to the water entity had never been authorised by Cabinet.

A Cabinet announcement of August 2015 released by the government portal www.gov.za makes no mention of Chonco’s name and instead mentioned the names of eight members approved by Cabinet to be chaired by the former Airports Company of South Africa MD Monhla Hlahla. Hlahla has since left the TCTA.

The TCTA is responsible for, among other things, the operation, maintenance and management of the important Lesotho Highlands Water Project in South Africa.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Why Lesotho Highlands Water Project still in ‘administrative crisis’

Approached for comment, former water affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s spokesperson Mlimandela Ndamase said there had been nothing nefarious about the late addition of Chonco to the board of TCTA after the fact.

Ndamase said eight members had been appointed to the board and one, Chonco, was added to the board post-facto.

“Following Cabinet approval of the eight candidates for appointments to the Board of TCTA, one of the candidates withdraw [sic] from the process and subsequently seven Board members were appointed. Mr M Chonco was appointed as a Board member to fill the vacancy on the Board of the TCTA,” said Ndamase.

Asked why, after interviews were concluded and a recommendation made by the interview panel in November 2017, TCTA was still without a CEO, Ndamase explained that “the appointment of the CEO was withdrawn due to insufficient reasons provided by the Selection Panel for the recommended candidate” and added the TCTA board was “dealing with this matter”.

RELATED: Another top executive leaves crucial water agency, allegedly in disgust

Manase is adamant that the decision to appoint Chonco was primarily because he “has the requisite knowledge and experience to contribute positively in this role”.

“The Chairperson doesn’t have any issues with the executive management. However, the option to appoint a non-executive director as an acting CEO in the short-term is one of the options available to her. No, this decision is not in contravention of the King Report. Nothing in King III prohibits the Board Chairperson from appointing a non-executive director for a short-term period, in line with the applicable policies,” said Manase.

She said there was nothing irregular about the appointment: “The appointment was done in terms of the delegation of authority, which gives the Chairperson of the Board authority to appoint an acting CEO for a short-term period.”

The chairperson stated that she did not believe she was above the law and had not broken any law in appointing Chonco. She said she was unaware of “any controversy surrounding the appointment of Mr Chonco to the Board”.

Magalies Water gets its financial services from company owned by former employee