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Fund denies claims over abuses

Jul 11 2011 20:13 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The Compensation Fund on Monday rejected as "mischievous" allegations that workers at the department of labour are being victimised while corrupt practices flourish.

"We vehemently reject the allegations. I have no doubt in my mind that the story may have its roots in ill-informed and disgruntled internal source or sources," said fund commissioner Shadrack Mkhonto, reacting to a Sunday World report.

The Sunday newspaper quoted an unnamed source saying "senior management does as it pleases… as if they are running a spaza shop".

It said documents in its possession indicated that some senior managers were promoted without any interviews being conducted.

Other claims were that some employees who were "persecuted by their seniors for no apparent reason" and axed, were reinstated after turning to the CCMA and Labour Court.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has since referred these accusations, which she said warranted a thorough investigation, to the director-general as most of them were administrative.

The minister said she viewed the allegations in a serious light.

Urging those with information to back up these claims, Mkhonto said the commission recently dismissed 16 employees for offences related to financial misconduct amounting to millions of rands.

Meanwhile, two doctors appeared in the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court on Tuesday on charges of defrauding the fund.

"I am convinced that the story has been leaked by elements who are concerned that we might be coming for them soon. We will stop at nothing to root out corruption at the fund," Mkhonto said.

He said some of the fund's service providers were also allegedly ripping off the fund of millions of rands, with one company pocketing R70m from the department in less than a year, from July 2010 to May 2011.

Mkhonto confirmed that the fund had indeed appointed specialist consultants to assist the fund improve service delivery.

He further pushed aside claims of appointments without interviews, saying all appointments were "duly processed and are open to scrutiny".

"The department of labour has a recruitment and selection policy and the fund is bound by that."
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