Fikile Mbalula’s advisor agrees to repay R500k he was overpaid
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Johannesburg - It will take Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s special advisor Lawrence Venkile three years to repay nearly R500 000 after being overpaid following his irregular appointment in 2019.
This follows Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane’s report released this week which found that Mbalula irregularly appointed special advisors Venkile and Bongisizwe Mpondo as well as legal advisor Kaiser Khoza without Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu’s approval.
Venkile has agreed to pay R460 000 he was overpaid after joining Mbalula’s office.
Mkhwebane has been informed by Mbalula’s office that Venkile has agreed that he is indebted to the department to the amount of R460 000.
The amount is the result of calculations done from the period of June 1, 2019, the date of his irregular appointment, to August 2019, when Mchunu finally approved it and the salary that was paid to him from September 1 that year to March 2021, which is the difference between the salary of a deputy director-general and that of a chief director.
Venkile has agreed to pay instalments of R12 000 to settle the debt, which will take three years and two months.
”He has requested that the department should enter into an agreement with him on a repayment plan as the figure is too onerous to be repaid all at once,” Mkhwebane said.
The department commenced recouping the money from him in April this year.
The Public Protector was told that Venkile informed Mbalula that the querying of his pay placed him in an untenable position which affected his livelihood as the level of the remuneration he accepted was also a sacrifice.
However, Venkile pleaded with Mbalula, requesting permission to make a suitable repayment plan.
He amount he is paying back is the difference between the salary that was offered at the time of his appointment and the salary that was eventually approved by Mchunu.
Mchunu informed Mbalula that Venkile and former political advisor Bongani Mbindwane should not have been appointed prior to approval being granted to him.
According to Mbalula, he offered Venkile a minimum annual salary of about R1.45 million due to the level of advice he required from him.
Mbalula has also undertaken to recover the overpayments from his legal advisor Kaizer Khoza.
Khoza was appointed at a salary range of R1.52m to R1.71m in March last year but Mchunu only approved his appointment in November.
Mkhwebane ordered Mbalula to ensure that his special advisor appointments were submitted to Mchunu for approval before being effected and that in future all their contracts of employment, performance agreements and security clearances must be submitted to the public service and administration minister for record purposes.