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Suspension of SA Tourism CEO: What has happened since?

Apr 19 2019 16:03
Carin Smith

More than two weeks after SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona was abruptly put on "precautionary suspension", the board has still not revealed any details on the allegations involved.

The SAT board announced on April 2, 2019 that it would be investigating allegations received from a whistle blower via its anonymous tip-offs reporting mechanism.

It did not elaborate on what the allegations were and said at the time it would not be drawn further on the matter.

SAT spokesperson Altaaf Kazi told Fin24 on Tuesday that the investigation is "still ongoing" and, therefore, SAT and the board are not in a position to comment until the process has been completed.

As for Ntshona, he responded to Fin24 on Wednesday to say he had been advised by his attorney not to interact with the media and that "nothing has changed" since he last spoke to Fin24 on April 2.

At that time Ntshona told Fin24 he had not been informed by the board of what the allegations were, so as to "protect the whistle-blower's identity".

"Only once the investigation is done and the board decides on the outcome will I be informed of any charges," Ntshona said at the time.

He said he was "surprised" when he was informed by the board that they were investigating allegations against him and that he would be placed on precautionary suspension.

A statement issued by the board at the time said: "In order to conduct a free and fair investigation, [the board] has decided to place the CEO on precautionary suspension".

"This would allow the CEO to focus on responding to the allegations as well as guarantee the integrity and transparency of the process to be followed," said the statement.

In the interim, Sthembiso Dlamini has been appointed as the acting CEO.

Tourism industry leaders Fin24 surveyed at the time indicated they were "shocked" by the sudden suspension of Ntshona.

The CEO of the Tourism Business Council of SA, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, told Fin24 that the suspension came at an inopportune time in terms of key industry events, including Africa's Travel Indaba in Durban in May.

"It is a matter of the SAT board and they will use their own corporate governance procedures," said Tshivhengwa, adding that he hoped the matter would be resolved soon.

sa tourism  |  wttc  |  sisa ntshona  |  travel and leisure  |  tourism
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