Hanekom on suspension of tourism CEO: no such thing as bad timing for right governance | Fin24
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Hanekom on suspension of tourism CEO: no such thing as bad timing for right governance

Apr 22 2019 15:49
Carin Smith

There is no such thing as bad timing when it comes to the right governance, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom told Fin24 recently.

He responded to a question on what he makes of the precautionary suspension of SA Tourism (SAT) CEO Sisa Ntshona, pending the outcome of an investigation by the board.

Fin24 reported last week that, more than two weeks after Ntshona was abruptly suspended, the board has still not revealed any details on the allegations received from a whistle blower via its anonymous tip-offs reporting mechanism.

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.

"The issue is: if it is found that he did nothing wrong, he must come back. If the board finds there is substance to the information it received, it must go on to the next step," Hanekom told Fin24 during a general interview on his career.

"I don't want to jump the gun. The main thing is for the SAT board to do its job."

According to Hanekom, it is not true that people in the tourism industry are "angry" about the board's decision to suspend Ntshona.

"Some said it is a pity, but nobody told me they are angry about the board's decision and there is a competent acting CEO in charge in the meantime. People in the tourism sector understand that the SAT board must do proper oversight," said Hanekom.  

He has confidence in the SAT board and the way it is handling the matter since receiving a letter from a whistle-blower, he said.

"I want the SAT board to deal with it and stick to the governance process. I met with the board and they agree that there is no perfect timing for an action if there might be justification for it," said Hanekom.

"When information which looks serious comes in front of you as a board, it is its obligation to act. It cannot say it must wait until after the upcoming Africa Travel Indaba, for instance."

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

More than two weeks later, he indicated that nothing has changed since then.

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



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