Eastern Cape ANC Secretary Lulama Ngcukayithobi has accused newly appointed Public Works Department MEC Ntombovuyo Nkopane of nepotism Daily Dispatch’s week end Edition reported on Saturday. According to Daily Dispatch Ngcukayithobi made his accusations on a whatsapp conversation.

In this week end ‘s Daily Dispatch it is reported that a screengrab of the conversation is doing rounds on social media and in it Ngcukayithobi in isisXhosa, explicitly tells Nkopane that she is committing nepotism by hiring Nomvula Qola as her Chief of Staff.

The position was previously held by Sibongile Sotshongaye but his contract ended in September after former MEC Babalo Madikizela resigned from his job. As a political appointee, Sotshongaye’s contract is tied to the term of office of his political principal.

But in the Whatsapp exchange Ngcukayithobi suggests that Nkopane should have kept Sotshongaye as her Chief of Staff. Nkopane, however complains about Sotshongaye’s performance.

“The premier wrote to us MECs raising concerns of non submission, non attendance of strategic intergovernmental relations, non submissions to the legislature as expected and non compliance. My private office was one of the culprits and there was no hope of rectifying the situation though I have raised it every time in the past 30 days that he was serving notice”, wrote Nkopane.

However Ngcukayithobi replied in IsiXhosa accusing Nkopane of nepotism by hiring her friend. Qola have worked with Nkopane while she was still mayor of the Matatiele municipality.

Ngcukayithobi said: “You were wrong to fire Sotshongaye. You are wrong for hiring your friends. Hiring your children is called nepotism and its wrong. You should fix these things while I am still warning you. But Nkopane seems to deny that she hired her friends and children asking Ngcukayithobi which children of mine? Which friends? Ngcukayithobi, however, further warned Nkopane that she was defying him.

“Be notified that you are acting against both my instructions and that of the premier and you must desist and do as instructed”, he wrote. Both Ngcukayithobi and Nkopane did not want to comment about the matter.

“Unfortunately  don’t answer about private conversations I only deal with matters of principle”, said Ngcukayithobi. On the other hand Nkopans’s spokesperson Zine George said all support staff of a member of the executive council are hired using ministerial handbook which states that one’s term of office ends once the MEC leaves office. So when former Public Works and Infrastructure MEC Madikizela resigned at the end of July, contracts of all his support staff were also terminated. The notice period ends at the end of September. The new incumbent has a responsibility of filling the vacant positions whose roles and responsibilities are stated in the ministerial handbook”. She would not comment on a screen grab.   



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