UPDATE: Vryheid Director of Community Services resigns amid matric certificate scandal

Archie Khumalo has resigned.

Did he do so because he is ashamed by the questions raised about his character? Is he attempting to do the right thing and step down until he can prove his innocence? Or is it likely that he knew that the municipality would not pursue disciplinary or criminal action if he was no longer an employee?

AbaQulusi’s director of Community Services was recently accused of fraudulently misrepresenting his qualifications after a letter from the Provincial Department of Education concluded that he had failed to write his matric exam the first time, and failed all his subjects ten years later.

READ THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE: PREVIEW: Vryheid municipal top dog has R1.3mil annual salary but no matric?

Municipal manager, Bonga Ntanzi, confirmed he has received Mr Khumalo’s letter of resignation, which indicates that he is resigning to attend to personal issues and hopes to one day return to AbaQulusi Municipality once they have been resolved.

Mr Ntanzi, who considered himself a good friend of Mr Khumalo’s, described the situation as, “very, very disappointing.”

“It is unfortunate that all of this has happened at a time when we thought we were turning  the corner. It is taking my time away from making sure that the municipality recovers financially and is very disturbing and destabilising. Another thing that saddens me is that he (Mr Khumalo) is going home unemployed,” said Mr Ntanzi.

The Vryheid Herald asked about the legal standing of all of the decisions Mr Khumalo has made as director of Community Services. Will the municipality be looking into contracts there were awarded and staff appointments that were made by Mr Khumalo to determine if there was any self-interest or dodgy dealings involved?

Mr Ntanzi responded, “There is no implication on the legal standing of the decisions he has taken. As director, he was only authorised to make recommendations as far as contracts and staff are concerned, but all the decision were be taken by me. Even a cleaner in his department is appointed by the accounting officer, which is me.”

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There will be no disciplinary or legal ramifications for Mr Khumalo to face, even if he did indeed misrepresent his qualifications, it seems.

“If he had not resigned we would have to follow procedure and charge him with misconduct and fraudulent misrepresentation. Then he would have been fired if found guilty. Now he has resigned, he can’t be fired, but when we receive proof that he either has the qualification or not, the council will make the final call as to how to proceed,” said Mr Ntanzi.

While Mr Khumalo seems to have escaped any repercussions if it comes to be that his wrongdoing is proven, the municipality will be calling on LexisNexis to provide an explanation for their role in the recruitment process.

LexisNexis is an independent company that was appointed to verify qualifications and perform competency assessments. They had included a note in their report on Mr Khumalo indicating that they were unable to verify his matric.

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“I want to write and raise my displeasure with LexisNexis. They were paid a good sum of money so it is not good enough for them to say in the report that they could not verify. They should have verified with Umalusi and SAQA,” said Mr Ntanzi.

The Vryheid Herald attempted to contact LexisNexis to hear their side, but a recorded message indicated that they were unavailable due to a team-building exercise they were busy with until tomorrow. An email was sent to them outlining the issue, however no response was received at the time of publishing.

Mayor, Jerry Sibiya, said he feels very badly about the fact that the council may have been duped. He has enquired about the missing matric certificate in the past and was told that Mr Khumalo had lost it and would be requesting a copy from the Department of Education.

Cllr Sibiya will be calling for an urgent meeting of the Executive Council (Exco) to take place on Tuesday to present Mr Khumalo’s letter of resignation. Thereafter a full council meeting will take place to declare the position vacant before the post is advertised and the recruitment process begins.

In the meantime, Mr Ntanzi, himself, will be acting director of Community Services until the position can be filled.

  AUTHOR
Estella Naicker

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