Labour minister Mildred Oliphant says the matter will be finalised within four weeks. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Labour minister Mildred Oliphant says the matter will be finalised within four weeks. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
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The fallout over financial irregularities at the country’s social dialogue forum, the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), has deepened, with its executive director and three other officials facing disciplinary action.

Nedlac is crucial in ensuring labour market stability and is responsible for the implementation of the national minimum wage, which President Cyril Ramaphosa said he will sign into law soon, and the realisation of the jobs summit resolutions.

On Friday, the body’s management committee ordered its overall conveners to institute disciplinary action against Madoda Vilakazi for interfering in the appointment of service providers, irregularly awarding contracts to his preferred providers and conflict of interest, among other transgressions.

This followed a presentation by forensic investigators who recommended that "disciplinary action" be taken against the director, CFO Mfanufikile Daza, who has already been placed on suspension, and the three supply chain officials. Sources who attended the meeting told Business Day the management committee also took issue with Vilakazi’s decision to suspend Daza as he was also implicated.

In October, auditor-general Kimi Makwetu said the body, which is an entity of the department of labour, had contravened supply chain management regulations, resulting in irregular expenditure, and failed to act in line with the Public Finance Management Act.

Vilakazi could not be reached for comment. However, in an interview with Business Day last week, he insisted he is innocent, saying it is too early in the process for anyone to cast aspersions on him.

Labour minister Mildred Oliphant said the matter will be finalised within four weeks.

"Manco [management committee] has moved swiftly to attend to the irregularities that were pointed out by the auditor-general and all officials concerned have been called to account. Due process has been instituted and within a period of four weeks, the matter will be finalised," she said.

In its annual report, the department noted Nedlac’s financial state has "regressed" after a qualified audit opinion from the auditor-general.

In 2015 the minister was criticised for "protecting" former executive director Herbert Mkhize after a forensic investigation found he and then CFO Umesh Dulabh had fraudulently and illegally spent almost R2m in council funds. Although Nedlac laid criminal charges with the police, nothing came of the case.

mahlakoanat@businesslive.co.za

Correction: November 21 2018

An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that a forensic investigation had found that Vilakazi had fraudulently and illegally spent almost R2m in council funds. This was in fact the former executive director Herbert Mkhize. This was an error introduced in the editing process which we sincerely regret.