TUT Main campus in Pretoria West. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency / ANA
The qualifications of the man at the helm of Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) finances have come under the spotlight after relevant state regulatory bodies said they had no records of him being registered as a chartered accountant (CA).

While S’celo Andreas Mahlalela states in his biography on the TUT website and LinkedIn page that he is a qualified CA, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica) confirmed to Sunday Independent that he was not registered with them. It is believed he is only registered in Zimbabwe.

“Please kindly note he (Mahlalela) is not a registered Saica member but as his LinkedIn profile references the Institute of Zimbabwe, you may want to check with them,” spokesperson Karin Jacobsen said.

However, Mahlalela’s registration could not be traced by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe either.

A Sunday Independent investigation has established that Mahlalela was born in eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, and was later naturalised as a South African.

Mahlalela is said to have been recommended by Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku, in his capacity as the university’s council chairperson.

Attempt for comment from Mahlalela were unsuccessful and he failed to respond to specific questions sent to him.

Masuku also failed to respond to direct questions relating to Mahlalela’s appointment. “Your questions are meant to be directed to the university management, in particular, the vice-chancellor,” Masuku said in his response.

When the post was advertised, it specified that preference would be given to a qualified CA.

In his bio, Mahlalela states that he is a qualified CA with an MBA in finance with more than 15 years of financial management experience. He adds that he served his articles at KPMG.

Whistle-blowers at TUT alleged that since Mahlalela took over in August of 2015, he had allegedly:

- Awarded two infrastructure projects contracts at R5 million per month “without an open tender process”;

- Appointed a project manager “without the post being advertised”;

- As Acting deputy vice-chancellor (DVC): operations “stripped the executive director of institutional support of protection services responsibilities”;

- “Stripped the DVC of student affairs and extra-curricular development of responsibility for student accommodation and moved to it to executive director institutional support which he knew would be reporting to him.”

TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter on Saturday confirmed that Mahlalela had been appointed to the position of chief financial officer in August 2015 but failed to clarify the issue of him being an accountant.

“He has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. FCCA & MBA Finance. Over 15 years experience,” she said.

Sources, however, claimed Mahlalela was politically connected and was being protected by those in senior positions at the institution.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education, science and technology has called for an investigation into the business unit of the university.

This came after management had appeared before the committee to answer to allegations of corruption, maladministration, nepotism and abuse of power. The university failed to appear before the committee on November 19.

It eventually appeared but chairperson Philly Mapulane was not impressed. He said the committee was concerned about the allegations on the university’s business arm, TUT Enterprise Holding.

Sunday Independent