Criminal charges laid against North West MEC for questionable hires

North West MEC Virginia Tlhapi faces scrutiny over hiring amid claims of fake qualifications for development corporation's CEO and CFO.

North West MEC for economic development, environment, conservation and tourism Virginia Tlhapi has been called to account for hiring two senior officials to lead the North West Development Corporation (NWDC) despite questionable credentials.

NWDC’s new chief executive Mojalefa Nale has been flagged for not having a matric and for allegedly producing fake tertiary qualifications to secure the top position.

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His chief financial officer, Kudakwashe Mpofu, a Zimbabwean national, resigned with immediate effect yesterday after allegations that he possessed a fraudulent permanent resident’s permit.

Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi recently confirmed Mpofu’s resident’s permit had been obtained fraudulently. He confirmed it had not been issued by his department, which did not know where he had obtained it.

She approved the appointments

Mpofu had been in the news over the allegations. The appointments of both senior officials were approved by Tlhapi.

But ANC MPL and chair of the portfolio committee on economic development, environment and tourism Mmoloki Cwaile demanded Tlhapi must account for the appointments and said he had laid criminal charges against the MEC and Nale for the CEO’s irregular appointment.

According to Cwaile’s affidavit, Nale was hired, although the CEO post, as advertised, required an individual with matric, a bachelor of business management, economics, law or administration degree.

The advertisement highlighted a masters in business management would be an advantage for the candidate applying for the high-paying job.

The applicant must have clean criminal and credit record and five to 10 years’ senior management experience.

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“Mr Nale does not have matric or Grade 12 or Standard 10, the first and most critical requirement forming basic inherent requirements [for the job],” Cwaile said.

“In his own application for the post in 30 pages [sic] application, he indicated on page 6 his inability to acquire matric … making him not to meet the inherent requirement for the post.”

The affidavit indicated Nale had allegedly claimed to have received his MSc in macro economic policy and planning at the University of Bradford in the UK and he claimed to have done only three modules for his masters.

It emerged the university did not offer such a course. What raised suspicions was that his documents showed he did a diploma and degree in just two years at the university.

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Earning more than R100 000 per month

Nale also allegedly inflated his salary level from his previous employer, the ANC, saying he was earning more than R100 000 per month.

This caused his salary to be elevated to R2.33 million per annum. Nale started work at the corporation in January.

Cwaile, who is known for his no-nonsense oversight in the legislature, said before approving Nale’s appointment, Tlhapi had failed to verify his qualifications and therefore ignored the existing rules.

This made the MEC an accessory to the fraudulent appointment.

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Cwaile wanted Tlhapi and Nale to be criminally charged and prosecuted. He laid criminal charges against them at the Mahikeng police station.

According to Cwaile, the appointment had violated public service regulations on employment of senior officials.

“This appointment of the CEO of NWDC is not only irregular, but it is fraudulent and supporting documents, including qualifications, are fake,” he said.