Johannesburg - National Consumer Commissioner (NCC) Mamodupi
Mohlala-Molaudzi and her employer, the minister of trade and industry, are set
for a courtroom showdown after the department advertised her position last
week, in effect meaning she would be out of a job come September.
In Mohlala-Molaudzi’s firing line is the director-general of
the department of trade and industry (dti), Lionel October, whom
Mohlala-Molaudzi accuses in a complaint to the Public Protector of withholding
money due to the NCC, interfering with her duties and trying to push her out of
In the papers prepared for the Public Protector,
Mohlala-Molaudzi says the department withheld her budget for half of the
financial year and spent some of it on projects she was consulted on and did
She said October had given the false impression to the trade
unions that she had resisted signing the transfer of staff from the department
to the NCC, when in fact October had not informed her she needed to sign the
Mohlala-Molaudzi was appointed as head of the NCC after a
public fallout with then minister of communication Siphiwe Nyanda.
She and Nyanda reached an out-of-court settlement, the terms
of which included her being employed in a different state department on the
same conditions as she was as director-general in Nyanda’s department. As head
of the NCC, she is on the same level as she was.
Mohlala-Molaudzi asserts that “based on the above
transgressions and sequence of events, it gives rise to the impression that the
conduct of the director-general of the trade and industry department is aimed
at the level of delivery of the institution, or alternatively at frustrating
the commissioner out of her job”.
She said in terms of her contract, she was entitled to a
renewal because she was appointed in terms of the Consumer Protection Act,
which sets the term for the NCC to be five years. She said she had not only met
her performance targets, but had exceeded them.
October hit back with accusations of impropriety and accused
Mohlala-Molaudzi of blocking the Auditor-General when his officials attempted
to audit the NCC.
The Auditor-General’s spokesperson, Tsale Makam, could not
confirm October’s allegation, but said there was a team working at the NCC.
However, the AG’s report showed a positive reflection of her
October acknowledged taking over the budget, but said he
took over the finances of the NCC because the outfit did not have financial
systems in place.
“As the accounting officer of the 16 agencies that (fall
under the department of trade and industry), I am responsible for the
distribution of funds to them. It would have been irresponsible for me to
transfer the money before there were systems in place.
“We could not transfer funds to them until they had systems
in place like appointing a CFO, an independent audit committee. It took her
three to four months to put the systems in place. There was no abuse of power.”
October accused Mohlala-Molaudzi of flouting financial
governance rules and blocking the office of the Auditor-General.
“Our fears were confirmed when the Auditor-General told us
that he was going to issue a disclaimer, which is worse than a qualified. The
department has never had a qualified audit,” said October.
October told City Press that they would contest
Mohlala-Molaudzi’s court action.
He said Mohlala-Molaudzi was hired in the aftermath of the
department of communications court action.
At the time of her departure from the department of
communications, she had 18 months of her contract to go. Her appointment as NCC
was therefore for the remainder of the communications department contract,
which expired at the end of August.
“In February the minister told her she was free to apply for
the position like everyone else. It was after the advert was placed that she
threatened court action and started this media campaign. We will oppose the
matter because we regard it as frivolous and vexatious,” said October.
Mohlala-Molaudzi and October stuck to their respective
versions of whether the staff transferred to the NCC were happy to work under
Her contention is that only 11 of 67 employees signed a
petition that they were unhappy, while the rest signed a counterpetition
She said she was aware that her fight with two of her
political bosses could create the impression that she was hard to work with.
“I believe I should be judged on the merits of my case and
not my personality.
“I am a person who believes in fighting for what’s right. I
stand up for my rights even if it means being unpopular or regarded as a
- City Press