South African fisheries management is in complete turmoil embroiled in scandal, lack of governance and a desperate fight by Monde Mayekiso, the DG of environmental affairs, Nosipho Ngcabe and their management team to hold on to aspects of Marine and Coastal Management apparently in a bid to not only justify Mayekiso's continued employment at taxpayers' expense but also to hide a host of apparent corrupt and questionable dealings. This much is clear from two separate documents provided to Feike. One is drafted by MCM staff and the other by staff at environmental affairs.
The staff broadly accuse Mayekiso and Ngcabe of serious maladministration and blatant corruption involving hundreds of millions of taxpayer rands. Mayekiso is accused of a range of potentially corrupt and illegal conduct. Firstly, he is accused of siphoning off approximately R300 million in funds intended for the Marine Aquaculture Programme (MAP) supposedly for coastal community support and development. The accusation is that these funds are being directed under a blanket of secrecy to an Hermanus MAP project and companies in which the former mayor of Cape Town, Nomaindi Mfeketo, has interests. The staff allege (although it has been rumoured for some time) that the Mfeketo and Mayekiso are intimately involved.
The second accusation levelled against Mayekiso concerns his son's involvement as a director of the Resolve Group at about the same time Resolve was awarded a R9,5 million contract for the fishing rights performance measuring process which is currently underway. Staff also cite an instance where in 2009 Mayekiso himself intervened in a tendering process and "instructed" the MCM Bid Evaluation and Bid Adjudication Committee to award a R500 000 tender to the Resolve Group.
Staff at the department of Environmental Affairs in Pretoria have also levelled serious accusations against the DG, Nosipho Ngcabe. Ngcabe is accused of intervening and awarding contracts to Ikamva Consulting which employs her sister, Sibongile Jezile, as a director and senior executive manager. It is said that Ikamva has been awarded contracts to the value of R54,7 million.
Clearly, both Ngcabe and Mayekiso have a lot to answer for ... and so too their beneficiaries. It is quite pointless to have - as we are regularly reminded - some of the best anti-graft laws in the world if so many senior and top civil servants simply snigger at them and use our taxes as a get rich quick scheme. The problem is that, as the Assets Forfeiture Unit reported to Parliament, these crooked officials never suffer sanction. They are inevitably suspended for months on end earning their salaries and benefiting from their criminal sprees as directors and shareholders of corrupt private amoral BEE companies.
Mayekiso is pretty unique though and you got to take your hat off to him. How often can a civil servant described by a public ministerial report as being incompetent and responsible for serious financial irregularities return to the same organisation to be given a second turn at ruining it ... and at a premium salary? The report initiated by Valli Moosa in 1999 found, inter alia, that -
"The audit report, which followed the Internal Audit Division of the DEAT being requested in August this year to review the financial management of the MCM by the former Director-General, indicated an extreme lack of basic financial and administrative procedures and controls, substantial amounts of unauthorised expenditure, transgression of treasury instructions, and potential financial irregularities and corruption.There were 29 generic problem areas of financial control or irregularities in terms of Treasury Rules ranging from overtime and leave to harbour management. The lack of basic financial and administrative controls in MCM has resulted in unauthorised expenditure in excess of R24 million this financial yearIncluded are a total of 56 contracts with a total value of R23,375 million, which are financed from the MLRF, are unauthorised for the financial year 1999/2000."
Given the serious accusations faced by Mayekiso this time around though, coupled with the significant voices of concern from NEHAWU, staff, the fishing industry, NGO's, experts and academics in the sector, it is hoped that Mayekiso's desperate attempts to remain in control of MCM are over and that the allegations levelled against him are fully investigated and not swept under the carpet.