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By News24 Wire

Wire Service

Probe into ex-KZN social development head must be completed – Zikalala

Last month, Nokuthula Khanyile told The Witness she believed there was an orchestrated campaign to intimidate her.

The KwaZulu-Natal government will wait out an investigation before any action is considered against its embattled former social development head of department (HOD), Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Wednesday.

Zikalala has been criticised for retaining Nokuthula Khanyile in his government while she is being investigated by the Hawks for issues around maladministration and the funding of NGOs.

She has since been moved from the department to work in his office while the probe is underway.

“The approach adopted by [my office] is that these allegations must be fully investigated without any fear or favour. After extensive engagements with all stakeholders, [I] resolved to reassign the HOD to the Office of the Premier in order to create a conducive environment for the investigation,” Zikalala said during a meeting with journalists at his offices in Durban.

He was reporting back after a provincial executive (PEC) meeting that was held recently.

The premier sang the praises of the department, saying it was one of two portfolios that received a clean audit in the last financial year.

He said, as premier, he would deal with the “challenge”, adding an existing forensic report commissioned by the department during its fifth administration needed to be implemented.

“This played itself as an accusation and counter-accusation. We will deal with it once an investigation is completed.”

Zikalala said the decision to move Khanyile to his office was done with “warm acceptance and co-operation by both the MEC and HOD”.

“The PEC then approved deputy director-general Sbu Ngubane as acting HOD. We hope the investigations will conclude by the end of January 2020.”

Last month, Khanyile told The Witness she believed there was an orchestrated campaign to intimidate her.

Addressing issues around irregular expenditure, which the KZN government incurred over R12bn of, Zikalala said more had to be done, without giving details.

Many of the issues surrounding the expenditure, which was the highest in the country, came from supply chain units.

“If the issue is about supply chain, there will be an investigation on why things are not improving.”

Zikalala added there would be consequence management going forward but did not go into detail or clarify if anyone would be fired or disciplined.

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Sihle Zikalala