Mohlala opposes suspension, takes PPRA to court

Mohlala opposes suspension, takes PPRA to court

MAIN IMAGE: Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, former CEO of the PPRA; Maryna Botha, Director of STBB; Steven Ngubeni; PPRA Board Chairman

Beleaguered former CEO of the PPRA, Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi, has hit back at her temporary suspension by the Minister of Human Settlement, Mmamoloko Kubayi, pending an investigation into allegations of administrative and financial misconduct brought forward by a whistle-blower.

Mohlala was put on precautionary suspension with full pay pending an investigation into allegations against her received from the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PPRA reiterated that the suspension is not a guilty verdict on the part of the CEO.

Late last year, the Pension Funds Adjudicator Tribunal found that Mohlala disregarded pension scheme rules when she allegedly instructed the (then) EAAB’s human resources department to suspend the deduction of pension fund contributions for five new employees.

“Other employees who joined them on the same date and on the same terms were registered as members of the fund. It is not clear why five of these recruits were given special exemption,” Maryna Botha, Director of STBB in Cape Town, explained the reasons for the temporary suspension. said.

Despite numerous attempts by the previous Board to enforce compliance, all communication with the human resources department was allegedly terminated by Mohlala who insisted that the matter be dealt with by her office.

“In its finding, the Tribunal noted that Mohlala’s lack of regard for compliance with the rules of the fund was of grave concern and that she ‘perceives her role within the employer as including overriding the rules of the fund.’ The EAAB  was ordered to pay all arrear contributions plus overdue payment interest backdated to July 2019 – resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure more than R1 million,” Botha said.

In an interview with Business Maverick, Steven Ngubeni, board chair of the Property Practitioners’ Regulatory Authority, said the decision to temporarily oust Mamodupi Mohlala was not driven by a ‘personal vendetta against her’, but by an investigation that implicates her in allegations of financial and administrative misconduct

The Property Practitioners’ Regulatory Authority (PPRA) board has hit back at Mamodupi Mohlala’s attempt to legally challenge her precautionary suspension as CEO, saying it will “vigorously” oppose the court action as it has the potential to “smear the integrity” of the property industry watchdog.

“Mohlala going to court and saying that she shouldn’t be suspended effectively means that she wants to be there [at the PPRA] when the whistle-blowers come forward. It can only serve to interfere and disrupt a fair investigation.

“We are of the firm view that because some witnesses of the investigation are in the organisation where the CEO [Mohlala] works, it is not fair to subject them to the reporting lines of the CEO while they are testifying against her,” he said.

Business Maverick also reports that the allegations against Mohlala are two-fold: they relate to the irregular appointment of six employees at the PPRA in junior, mid-level and senior positions over the past three years, and irregularities about the loss of pension fund payments. The whistle-blower alleged there were staff members employed by the PPRA who received their salaries without pension fund deductions, which is illegal.

According to the Business Maverick report, Mohlala has already had an adverse ruling on the allegations relating to the absence of pension fund payments.

In 2021, the Pension Funds Adjudicator Tribunal found Mohlala had disregarded pension fund scheme rules after issuing instructions for the suspension of several employees’ pension fund contributions. The deductions had to be recovered and paid by the PPRA, with the board’s Ngubeni estimating that the outstanding deductions amounted to about R1.6-million.

Ngubeni had earlier said the suspension of Mohlala was necessary to ensure an independent, objective, unbiased, fair, and incident free investigation. It will allow witnesses to forth without fear of intimidation and victimisation.

“The board is following a process in terms of the procurement prescripts, to appoint a reputable and an independent forensic investigations company. We are at the very beginning of the process. The Board has reviewed the allegations together with the preliminary responses and explanation from the CEO. We have at this stage found no convincing grounds to dismiss the allegations. Hence our decision to fully investigate all the allegations,” he said.

 

Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi Photo by: Cebile Ntuli 

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