Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane are set to face again, this time, over the appointment of the Mango chief executive officer. Picture: ANA

Durban - Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has remained mum on the allegation that he influenced the appointment of Nico Bezuidenhout as the new chief executive officer of Mango Airlines. 

The allegations of inteference against Gordhan came from EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who on October 28 lodged a complaint with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane for possible investigation.

Gordhan’s spokesperson Sam Mkokeli did not respond to Independent Media queries sent to him via Whatsapp and he also did not answer his phone. 

When contacted for comment, Gordhan said “You can talk to the media officer please”. He later responded to text message saying questions should be referred to the board. 

In a letter dated November 15, Mkhwebane informed SAA acting chairperson Thandeka Mgoduso that she was investigating Gordhan for violating the Executive Ethics Code in connection with Bezuidenhout’s appointment.

Mkhwebane’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, confirmed that the letter was written by his boss. 

Mkhwebane said Shivambu alleged that the minister had instructed Mango Board chairperson Peter Tshisevhe to employ Bezuidenhout. 

“Mr Gordhan’s involvement in the appointment of Mr Bezuidenhout is unqualified, the lie about Mr Bezuidenhout’s qualifications is inconsistent with Mr Gordhan’s office and that Mr Gordhan had exposed himself to a situation involving a risk of a conflict between his responsibility and private interest as required by section 96(1) and (2) of the Constitution,” read letter in reference to Shivambu’s allegations. 

The letter further stated that after the SAA board had written to him about the decision to appoint the new Mango CEO, Gordhan used his position and information  entrusted to him to benefit Bezuidenhout “who otherwise would not have qualified for the position to which he was later appointed due to Mr Gordhan’s involvement”. 

Among the list of things that Mkhwebane wanted Mgoduso to provide her were approved panel for shortlisting and interviews, approved names of shortlisted candidates, declaration of interest of interview panel members and candidates’ score sheets. 

She gave Mgoduso 30 days to respond to her request. 

Segalwe was concerned the letter had been leaked on social media. 

“This could compromise the investigation and put respondents on blast in the court of public opinion. It also reveals the details of our investigators. This makes them uncomfortable and compromises their safety,” he said. 

Politics Bureau