Politics / 22 December 2019, 11:34am / Loyiso Sidimba
Internal battles among executives at the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) took a new twist this week when its chief executive, Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, brought a R1.5 million defamation lawsuit against board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi served Kula-Ameyaw with a summons after she wrote to Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, who is responsible for the EAAB, and her adviser, ex-national director of public prosecutions Menzi Simelane in October and last month.
According to the summons, which Independent Media has seen, Mohlala-Mulaudzi accuses Kula-Ameyaw of claiming to Sisulu that the former pension funds adjudicator and Department of Communications director-general promised EAAB board members R2m each from a R50m transformation fund. Mohlala-Mulaudzi denies offering the EAAB’s 15 board members R2m each, saying they were all people of integrity and that she never made such an offer.
“I have never made such an offer, that’s why I’ve decided to take legal action so that she must answer in court,” Mohlala-Mulaudzi said.
She insisted that she had a good working relationship with board chairperson Nkosinathi Biko, his deputy Yusuf Patel and other board members.
Mohlala-Mulaudzi also defended her track record since her appointment in February, maintaining that she turned around the EAAB compared to when she arrived.
She said the EAAB issued 30000 fidelity fund certificates, which estate agents need to operate legally, by the December 30 deadline in record time.
Kula-Ameyaw did not respond to requests for comment yesterday, but has accused Mohlala-Mulaudzi of being a “drama queen, a liar, evil, anarchist, a law unto herself and hostile towards her female colleagues”.
She told Sisulu that Mohlala-Mulaudzi made illegal appointments, hated accountability, disrespected the board, did not want to stay in her lane as chief executive and used her qualifications to intimidate people.
In the summons, Mohlala-Mulaudzi said Kula-Ameyaw was aware or ought to have reasonably known that the allegations in her letter to Sisulu were false, defamatory and injurious to her.
"The plaintiff (Mohlala-Mulaudzi) in her personal capacity has suffered damages in the sum of R1.5m,” read the summons.
The infighting prompted Sisulu to intervene this week when she met the board in Pretoria on Tuesday, where she was briefed on the challenges the EAAB was facing internally and the reported allegations of maladministration. Sisulu said the board told her it had instituted processes through its social and ethics committee to investigate grievances and various allegations that have surfaced.
According to Sisulu, the board also disclosed that its processes were being undermined through the regrettable leaking of information to the media and through various unfounded statements. Sisulu was concerned that internal matters that should have been addressed by the entity had reached mainstream and social media.
She undertook that her department would look into the veracity of the allegations, including unethical behaviour and the leaking of confidential information.
Sisulu called on the EAAB to swiftly implement the board resolution and recommendations on the execution of a comprehensive change management process by its executives to ensure smoother running of the entity and expected non-executive directors to address matters that could potentially damage its reputation.