Nokuthula Khanyile. Picture: Shan Pillay

Durban - Recently shifted former head of department (HoD) in the KZN department of social development, Nokuthula Khanyile, has finally spoken out after weeks of silence while departmental workers alleged that she is corrupt, ruled with an iron fist and she was milking service providers.  

In an exclusive interview with Independent Media on Tuesday afternoon in Durban, Khanyile said there was an agenda to drive her out her of the department because she was very firm in dealing with wrongdoing by officials under her watch. 

She said there was a group “of less than 10 people” that was driving the agenda to kick her out of the department and they were mobilising the entire staff against her. 

Asked why would they go to such lengths, Khanyile said most of them were facing charges of misconduct and they were about to be hauled over the coals hence their effort to get rid of her. 

“These people who are involved in this smear campaign are less than ten and we know who they are. I am talking about people who are driving this issue… What they are doing now is they are mobilising all officials who have been disciplined, but I am not worried about that because all the due processes (of charging them) were followed,” Khanyile said, adding that some of the people have tried to overturn their dismissals and failed. 

Later, Khanyile was asked about the corruption allegations against her and she laughed it off. She bragged that the department under her watch recently got a clean audit from the Office of the Auditor-General after years of bad audits. Still defiant, she said she was the one who, in August this year, wrote to the Office of the Premier in KZN and requested Sihle Zikalala to institute a forensic investigation because she had suspicions of corrupt activities. 

“Let us allow our law enforcement agencies to do the investigations they have already started… Why did I ask to be investigated, why? It was because I wanted my name to be cleared,” she said. 

Turning to the school fees of her child, Khanyile said it was false that she was forcing service providers to pay for her daughter.

“Look, my daughter will be turning 15 soon and she has spent her entire schooling life going to private schools and that started while I was a chief director in the department. Why would I now, as a highly paid HoD, ask service providers to pay for my daughter? Again, I was previously married and the father of my daughter is a well-off and well-paid manager at Transnet who affords the fees charged by the private schools. So these allegations are false,” Khanyile said. 

Among the allegations also levelled against her was that she was running the department with an iron fist, an allegation she denied. She said those feels that she ruled with an iron fist and she unfairly dismissed some staff members should look at the statistics of the people they fired. She said all of them lost their appeals in the CCMA and other appeals platforms. 

“It’s not me who got a clean audit, its the Department of Social Development that got it under my leadership. So where is this coming from now? Why are they alleging that I ruled with an iron fist now when my contract is about to expire?” Khanyile asked. 

Khanyile has since been moved KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, to head the provincial Agricultural Development Agency in Pietermaritzburg until February 29, 2020.

Political Bureau