Is senior official actively sabotaging GDED?

Gauteng MEC of Economic Development Tasneem Morata. Picture: X (Twitter)

Gauteng MEC of Economic Development Tasneem Morata. Picture: X (Twitter)

Published Jun 26, 2024


The Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) has been in the news almost every month since the dissolution of the board that was chaired by Sibongile Vilakazi, and sources claim that the person allegedly behind the department’s troubles is a senior official in the department. The official is known to The Star.

The senior official, who is allegedly an ally of disgraced former Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) chairperson Vilakazi, is allegedly believed to be an opponent of MEC Tasneem Motara.

Vilakazi was replaced as the GGDA chairperson after the Labour Court found her guilty of moonlighting and dishonesty while she was a lecturer at Wits.

Sources in the department say the senior official has allegedly been working against Motara since her first day in office.

Motara has been seen as a young and vibrant MEC who would allegedly uncover the department’s corrupt dealings and vested interests, but she has had a tough time getting support from the department. The source said department officials were allegedly living large at the expense of the taxpayer.

“You journalists think the politicians are the corrupt ones. You don’t know. Why don’t you investigate the directors and heads of departments – you’ll be shocked. The directors drive cars way above public remuneration.

“The official has a lot of municipal experience and somehow he ended up at the department. From day one he was undermining Motara. When you guys expose politicians, don’t forget the officials,” the source said.

There was a grouping within the department known as the “anti-MEC crew”, he said, who allegedly hid tenders from the MEC and worked with NGOs to sabotage Motara’s work.

“Every project she has begun was collapsed from inside. The only projects that prosper in government are the ones the officials have an interest in. Any other project they will treat with a go-slow.

“An MEC arrives at the office after deployment and finds an official who has been in the department for many years. The official knows the legislation, short-term and long-term projects, service providers and how to bypass the system.

“Once the scandal pops, it’s the MEC and not the official in the media. That’s why the DA is demanding its own directors-general in the departments given by the Government of National Unity. It is to avoid the situations Motara is facing,” he said.

The Star sent questions to the said official and asked if he consistently undermined Motara’s authority and if he had influenced the board to charge and dismiss Mosa Tshabalala, but there was no response.

“You are accused of meddling in procurement processes at the Gauteng Liquor and Gambling Boards. What was your role in the price escalation of the digital migration tender at the Liquor Board? You are also accused by a source of holding secret meetings with disgruntled board members at the GGDA and interfering with the new board decisions and work.” The official did not respond.

This is a developing story.