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CETA rejects Nehawu allegations against the authority and its chief executive

Zola Saphetha

Zola Saphetha

Published Apr 29, 2022

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Durban - The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) has rejected the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union’s (Nehawu) allegations against the institution and its chief executive, Malusi Shezi.

Speaking to eNCA on Thursday, Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha called on Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande to intervene in the CETA, accusing the organisation of poor governance and saying the CEO was destabilising the body.

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Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha addressing media in Pretoria. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/African News Agency (ANA)

Nehawu said that since Shezi was appointed, he has gone out of his way to destabilise the institution through his autocratic leadership.

In a statement issued by CETA management thereafter, the organisation hit back at Nehawu, saying it had only been six months since the CEO was appointed and the focus at this stage was to stabilise and improve performance post-administration, adding that it was demonstrated by the appointment of capable, competent and experienced executive and senior management.

On the accusation of poor governance, CETA said policies, procedures and governance charters have been reviewed and implemented for both projects and procurement bid awards which included committees that independently evaluate proposals and make recommendations to the CEO for approval.

“The institution has a functional audit and risk committee consisting of independent members and a robust internal audit function. On forensic report on pension funds, it is not true that the report has been with the minister for more than two years. The report was only completed and submitted for the minister’s consideration towards the end of 2021. The due processes to release this report to the public will be observed,” read the statement.

CETA also dismissed the accusation that the staff benefit structure had been changed, saying it remained the same, pending the implementation of recommendations of the forensic report.

On the use of consultants, CETA said they were appointed based on the proven needs of the institution and vacancies that were currently being filled and where expertise was not available internally. It said there were no instances where consultants have replaced CETA employees.

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“The appointment of consultants follows a competitive and transparent procurement process in line with CETA policies, PFMA and section 217 of the South African Constitution. It is unfortunate that a picture is being painted that CETA management does not consult with the union and staff.

“The fact is that we have an open and accessible internal communication and engagement channels to deal with any issues between ourselves as stakeholders,” the statement continued.

The construction body further said all engagements with Nehawu were done as provided for in the Recognition Agreement (RA), signed by all parties on March 15, 2019.

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On the issue of the visit by the Nehawu general secretary, CETA said a request was received for a virtual meeting to be held in less than 24 hours. This was in contravention of the RA, in which seven days’ notice must be given by the union prior to a meeting. The general secretary arrived at 12.58pm and met the CEO at 1.10pm.

However, before the consideration could be made, the general secretary indicated that he had other commitments at 2pm. It was therefore not true that access was denied. It said the body has on several occasions allowed shop stewards to attend union business and this remains in place.

Additionally, it said that management continues to reach out to the union for further engagements; however, the union is yet to commit to these engagements and therefore CETA management would like to reiterate that all the allegations against the institution and its leadership are baseless and false.

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