Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane recommended that the Deputy Speaker of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature Lehlogonolo Masoga should pay back a phone bill of R125,000. File photo: Brenda Masilela/ANA

JOHANNESBURG  - Controversial former deputy Speaker of the Limpopo legislature, Lehlogonolo Masoga, was on Thursday appointed as the new chief executive of Limpopo's Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

In June last year, Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report stating that Masoga had incurred an exorbitant or unreasonable mobile telephone bill of R125,000 whilst on an official trip in the USA in August 2014, and ordered him to pay it back.

Masoga, in May this year, approached the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria to have the report reviewed and set aside even though the Legislature settled the bill.

He is expected to provide the leadership required to maintain the progress of the SEZ as it continues to bring about much needed foreign investment into the Limpopo province. 

The Musina-Makhado SEZ in the Vhembe Region was approved by Cabinet in 2016 and is anchored through an investment of more than R40 billion in an energy and metallurgical industrial cluster.

Rob Tooley, newly appointed chairperson of the SEZ board, said the appointment of Masoga was a key step in the right direction and his appointment was expected to fulfill the mandate of the provincial SEZ strategic vision. 

Tooley said Masoga was an accomplished leader and administrator who brings more than a decade of executive management and political experience in both government and the legislature, and was a very welcome addition to the SEZ executive.

"Masoga is expected to provide the type of expertise and experience that is required to deliver the SEZ strategic vision," Tooley said. 

"The SEZ Board is confident that Mr Masoga will provide the necessary leadership into the operations of the SEZ." 

Tooley said the SEZ board has entrusted Masoga with the responsibilities to restore the capacity of the province's economy to produce goods and services competitively as well as to attract more investment from both the domestic and international world.

- African News Agency (ANA)