Big spender MEC fights backComment on this story
Humphrey Mmemezi is on a witch-hunt for people who leaked information about his state credit card abuses and luxury government vehicle damage to the media.
The Star understands that the Gauteng MEC for local government and housing has reduced the number of people dealing with the use of his credit card to one in a bid to prevent leaks.
Insiders who had insight into his credit card statements have been moved to other units within the department.
Sources said Mmemezi had designated his chief financial officer, Japhter Makhafola, to be the only person handling his credit card usage. They also said FNB had been informed of the change.
The Star also understands that Mmemezi accused his chief director: corporate services, Deidre Londt, of having leaked a memorandum showing that his senior managers had agreed to sell on auction the state’s vehicle he crashed in November last year.
Londt has since approached the Press Ombudsman in an attempt to make it clear she had not spoken to The Star.
It is understood that the issue of finding the culprits behind the leaks was receiving serious attention.
Staff members’ phones, according to sources, have been bugged and the department’s head of security, Azwindini Maphanga, is being given a prominent role in the monitoring and surveillance of staff.
“Cameras have been installed to monitor the movement of people in the department. Senior managers in the regions are no longer allowed to have separate meetings in their offices.
“All of them are summoned to the office in Sauer Street and such meetings are closely monitored,” another source said.
Mmemezi was due to face a grilling from the DA in the Gauteng legislature on Tuesday.
Sources in the department allege Mmemezi is related to his secretary, Nonkululeko Zondi.
The DA was expected to ask Mmemezi whether Zondi was allowed to use a government vehicle for her personal use several times this year. The incidents were supposed to have occurred in March, April and May.
Zondi allegedly became involved in an accident using the car, and now the DA wants answers.
The party’s spokesman on local government and housing, Fred Nel, was expected to ask Mmemezi if the accident occurred after or during working hours. And why?
He was also expected to ask if Zondi was assigned a government car at the time of her accident.
The allegations of nepotism levelled – with the Zondi issue as a backdrop – at Mmemezi by public service trade union Nehawu first surfaced in April.
Mmemezi is also accused of being on a drive to get rid of the union’s leaders in his department.
In April, Nehawu members picketed outside his building, accusing him of organising “jobs for pals”. The protesters said Mmemezi was engaged in a massive recruitment of family members and close friends to the department.
The Star has seen the notice to attend a disciplinary hearing served on several Nehawu leaders. One of the leaders was served with three charges of misconduct.
They are collectively charged with inciting fellow workers to take part “in a strike that took place on April 17, 2012”. They are also charged with organising an illegal strike on that day. The third charge is trespassing.
According to the charges, the Nehawu leaders had entered their workplace without the permission of the head of department, Mongezi Mnyani.
On April 20, the union leaders were served with precautionary suspension from duty notices that appeared to have been signed by Mnyani in his capacity as head of department. But the trade unionists say the signature was a forgery.
Last Thursday, they were served with notices to appear for disciplinary hearings on June 13.
The Nehawu members say the aim is to facilitate their speedy exit from the department.
The leaders also claim they have found no support from their union headquarters. ”Like the union, Mmemezi supports Jacob Zuma for a second term,” they say.
Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla has dismissed the allegations, saying:
“They should not talk politics to fight workplace (issues). They are talking nonsense.”
Mmemezi, Mnyani and Local Government and Housing spokesman Victor Moreriane did not respond to inquiries.