Scopa slams IDZ ‘looting’: Daily Dispatch

2.7m payout to CFO under fire

EAST London Industrial Development Zone’s previous CFO has walked away with a R2.7million golden handshake.

Max Mhlati, chairman of the provincial standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), has slammed the payment to Ntombizine “Zine” Madyibi as part of a “looting spree” afflicting parastatals like the Elidz.

Madyibi, one of five finalists in Destiny magazine’s 2013 businesswoman of the year awards in 2013, and a chief commissioner of Girl Guides of SA in 2012, raked in a staggering R4.1-million in her 2014 exit year from the Elidz.

This is according to the Elidz 201314 annual report and its review, which also show that her CEO, Simphiwe Kondlo, earned almost a million less than Madyibi that year.

While the latest audit was given the all-clear by the auditor-general, Madyibi was at the helm when it received a qualified audit for 2012-13, which blemished the zone’s 11-year record of clean audits.

Efforts to e-mail, phone and text Madyibi, now CEO of Mayibuye Bus Company, at her Vincent head office, drew a blank. She was “in a meeting”, said her front office staff.

Kondlo has stressed that Elidz will meet its salary bill and pay its creditors this month, thanks largely to a R4-million bailout on Friday from economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (Dedeat) MEC Sakhumzi Somyo.

Kondlo, through his spokeswoman Ayanda Ramncwana, also admitted at the weekend that despite a predicted deficit of R63-million by the month’s end, the board still managed to pay itself – and presumably other employees – a R7-million “performance” bonus in September last year.

Behind the scenes, the Daily Dispatch has learned that the board was scrambling to sell IDZ land and two transformers in mint condition last year, and succeeded in emptying out a R30-million maintenance fund to pay a 13th cheque before Christmas.

Ramncwana confirmed neither land nor transformers were sold.

Yesterday, after three hours of “consulting with stakeholders”, she responded to a query about Madyibi’s golden handshake with a terse: “The Elidz’s policy does not allow the discussion of individual employee’s contracts and related employment conditions in the media.

“We, therefore, cannot respond to any of the above questions.”

The 10-member board’s fees were in line with then-MEC Mcebisi Jonas’s 2012 pay benchmark for directors of public entities, as well as national Treasury guidelines, she added.

The Elidz annual report and review show that in the next year, 2013-14, seven Elidz executive directors increased their collective pay by about 30%, or R4.8-million – from R11.2-million to R16-million.

Mhlati, however, laid into the stateowned entities, shouting down the phone: “They are buying people out!

“When they have not completed a contract they pay two or three million for the remaining service period because they don’t have a legal foot to stand on.”

He said Madyibi faced disciplinary troubles with the board due to the Elidz’s “poor performance”.

The Scopa chair said: “They are on a looting spree. Why do they have such huge boards?”

He lashed out at BCM councillors Sakhumzi Caga and Pumla Nazo, who are Elidz directors in their private capacity, for drawing double salaries. “Those councillors are said to have special skills. What special skills? Councillors should not be paid if they are representing their councils – they are [paid to be] councillors 24 hours a day.”

Caga and Nazo declined to answer questions e-mailed to them.

DA MPL Ross Purdon called for an investigation into fees and funds swallowed up by the boards of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, EC Gambling and Betting Board, EC Parks and Tourism Agency, and the EL and Coega IDZs.

“They are all under a cloud. We see it all the time, especially with the Mandela funeral funds,” he said, adding that the two BCM councillors’ directorships on the Elidz board was “unacceptable”.

“Somyo must be held accountable. He is the man at the top. This public looting can’t be allowed.

“Government is supposed to be facilitating growth, but here we are at 1.4% [growth rate] with unemployment sky-high, and money is going off in devious channels.”

Somyo’s spokesman Sixolile Makaula, speaking late yesterday afternoon, said that even though Dedeat was a 74% shareholder in the Elidz, “the Dedeat is not able to be divulge salaries of individual employees in its public entities due to contractual obligations and conditions of employment.”

Makaula repeated Ramncwana’s position that board fees were in line with government benchmarking.

Ramncwana said the Elidz board “as part of its board fee review process” had “ensured” that they paid themselves “in consultation” with Somyo’s department. — mikel@dispatch.co.za

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