Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille has suspended her DG following reports over irregular doings in the department. Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille has suspended her DG following reports over irregular doings in the department. Photograph: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

De Lille suspends DG over cost of state funerals

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jul 29, 2020

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Durban - On Wednesday, Public Works Minister Patricia de Lille suspended the director-general of Public Works, Sam Vukela, over awarding irregular contracts for state funerals, including that of ANC veteran, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

De Lille confirmed tht Vukela had been placed on precautionary suspection pending the finalisation of the disciplinary processes instituted against him.

"This action follows a Minute I received from President Cyril Ramaphosa on 17 March 2020 to inform me of his decision to delegate his powers to the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure to initiate disciplinary processes against the Director-General, Advocate Sam Vukela," she said.

De Lille said the decision to suspend Vukela was taken after her office received reports from two investigations.

"The first report by Price WaterHouse Coopers (PWC) investigated allegations of irregularities related to the provision of moveable infrastructure for official funerals and the second report by the Public Service Commission investigated allegations of irregular appointments within the Senior Management Service of the department," she said.

De Lille said she sought legal advice and assistance to start the process as directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

She said an internal disciplinary process that will be chaired by a senior advocate will be convened in due course.

De Lille declined to comment further on the suspension.

According to reports, Vukela was fired for his position as acting DG and accounting officer in 2013 for the irregular leasing of office space for police in Pretoria.

According to a report by BusinessLive, that deal, and subsequent investigations, resulted in the removal of Bheki Cele as national police commissioner.

Vukela was reinstated following a controversial arbitration award in 2017, and was given R2m in back pay.

The report further states that in March, Ramaphosa had given De Lille the greenlight to take action against Vukela.

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