Compensation Fund rejects nepotism allegations
11 January 2011
The Compensation Fund commissioner, Shakes Mkhonto, has come out with guns blazing and dismissed claims of nepotism and unprofessional behaviour levelled against him by those claiming to be labour union members as malicious and devoid of any shred of truth.
He was responding to media enquiries which he believes, may have their roots in elements within the department who are colluding with fraudsters to defraud the Fund of millions.
Just recently, the Department of Labour has charged and dismissed around 11 employees for offences related to financial misconduct amounting to millions of rands, and investigations on others are still continuing.
“I suspect this 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. After opening criminal charges against the dismissed employees, the expectation is that the Asset Forfeiture Unit will kick in to help the department recover stolen monies,’’ Mkhonto said.
He invited anyone who accused him of any wrongdoing to approach either the Director-General or the Minister.
On claims that he has been appointing senior managers without interviews, he said: “We have a recruitment and selection policy within the department and the Fund is bound by that. All appointments were duly processed and are open to scrutiny.’’
Mkhonto said he was not aware of any “job evaluation report’’ being spoken about. “I would welcome to see the report so that I can study it,’’ he said.
Turning to claims that Compsol was pressuring the Fund staff to process its claims ahead of other medical claims, Mkhonto said: “We are obliged to process and pay Compsol within the terms of the court order.’’
Responding to a claim that the commissioner is connected to lawyers who prosecuted another senior official, Mkhonto said: “The department has appealed the Bargaining Council decision. We have since filed our papers to the labour court and are awaiting the court to decide on the matter. I am sure people understand that once the matter is before the courts there is nothing I can do,’’ he said.
On claims that unions presented the commissioner with proof that Compsol tempered with medical accounts, he said: “We have no evidence that such things happened. I would love to be presented with proof. We have an independent internal audit and risk units and they both report to the audit committee, I cannot interfere with the duty of the risk manager and his unit as I would be flouting proper corporate governance procedures. This unit has made tremendous gains in rooting out corruption and fraud within fund and I will continue to support their good work, Twelve medical practitioners and compensation staff members will be appearing in March this year before the special commercial crimes court on fraud related charges and we will persue the deregistration of these practitioners with the Health Professional Council of South Africa..’
Issued by: Page Boikanyo