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Johannesburg - Workers in the Limpopo Agriculture Department have called for the resignation of MEC Jacob Marule amid accusations of interference in administration duties.
The revolt that has seen workers launching lunch-time pickets over the past two weeks comes hardly a year after Marule’s appointment.
“We are sick and tired of his interference in administration processes,” Aaron Maepa said on Monday. Maepa is the chairman of the labour forum that represents the National Health and Allied Workers Union and the Public Service Association.
He alleges Marule has usurped powers delegated to department head Mortimer Mannya. But he would not provide details of the interference, saying a memorandum of grievances that was being prepared first had to be presented to Marule.
Officials in the department said Marule and Mannya hardly talked to each other. Two officials said Mannya was about to leave the department as a result, less than a year after his appointment.
“He is going to the national Agriculture Department. He is just waiting for authorisation,” said the source, who requested not to be named.
The Star understands Mannya refused last month to be part of a panel that interviewed applicants for positions advertised in October.
Insiders alleged Marule insisted that interviews be held, despite the province’s director-general, Rachel Molepo-Modipa, ordering the department to withdraw the advertised posts.
In a letter to the department, Molepo-Modipa said the posts had been advertised without her approval and the recommendation of the provincial human resource task team.
“Your department is therefore kindly requested to withdraw the advertisement of the posts until the recommendation of the provincial task team is made and approval of the director-general is obtained,” the letter read.
On Monday, Mannya said he was on leave and referred queries to the MEC.
Marule refused to comment, saying he was not accountable to the media.
Acting department head Terri Ndove admitted that some interviews had been held, but said positions had not been filled.
One of the positions, that of senior general manager for rural development and district services, had allegedly been earmarked for Marule’s friend Kgabo Masehela.
Sources said Masehela had occupied the office and had issued instructions without being appointed.
Masehela previously denied he had eyed the newly created position. But he admitted that he had earlier applied for the position of head of department, but lost to Mannya.
Masehela admitted in an interview with The Star in November he had advised Marule not to fire Phuti Dipela, an official in the supply chain management unit, without following procedure.
Dipela was suspended for alleged interference in the awarding of tenders, but was later reinstated after no wrongdoing was found on his part.
“The MEC is the one who suspended him. Actually, he wanted (Dipela) to go, but I said ‘don’t fire him, procedures must be followed’,” Masehela had said.