Three years after resigning in disgrace as Cosatu’s retirement fund co-ordinator while suspended and facing a disciplinary hearing for allegedly accepting a car as a bribe, Jan Mahlangu has been rehired to his old position.
Mahlangu, who was said to be close to the now suspended Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, was exposed by the Mail & Guardian in April 2010 as having been bought a new Audi A4 worth R349 000 by SA Quantum, a financial services company.
Sdumo Dlamini, the president of Cosatu, said on Friday that Mahlangu had been rehired after having resigned. The labour federation did not have a case of a bribe against him, he said.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr director of employment law Johan Botes said, generally speaking, if an employee resigned during a disciplinary hearing, an employer would think twice about rehiring them.
“If they rehire the employee, it could be the employer had no good grounds in the first place to institute the disciplinary proceedings,” he said.
Mahlangu was responsible for negotiating the regulations governing pension funds on behalf of Cosatu and its affiliates. He oversaw the performance of all pension fund providers, including SA Quantum.
Mahlangu initially denied SA Quantum had paid for his car, saying he financed it through a registered financial institution, which he refused to name. But he later admitted to Vavi that it was a gift from the company, but he did not declare it to the labour federation.
Three weeks before the Mail & Guardian broke the story about Mahlangu, it reported its journalist had allegedly been offered R120 000 by Veone Bock, the then chief executive of SA Quantum, to quash a story about a financial scandal involving the company and Vavi’s wife, Noluthando.
She was allegedly paid R60 000 a month by SA Quantum to market the company’s financial products to Cosatu affiliates.
The police began an investigation into Bock after the newspaper had secretly filmed him handing over R40 000 of the bribe to the reporter.
Noluthando Vavi resigned from her lucrative position at SA Quantum shortly after Mahlangu admitted that the former chief executive of SA Quantum, Abraham Nduru, had bought him the car.
However, Noluthando Vavi did not admit guilt when she resigned from the job.
In her letter of resignation, she said: “The attempt to bribe the Mail & Guardian journalist and the Mail & Guardian story that the previous SA Quantum chief executive allegedly provided Mr Jan Mahlangu with a car perceived to have been a bribe has put me in an invidious position. I have no alternative but to tender my resignation with immediate effect.”
Mahlangu asked Business Report to put questions for him in writing but had not responded to the newspaper’s e-mail by the close of business on Friday.