Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane

The Department of Water and Sanitation has plans to suspend its director general Dan Mashitisho.

The department said it handed Mashitisho a notice of intention to suspend him, but has given him an opportunity to provide reasons opposing his suspension.

Department spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said minister Nomvula Mokonyane asked Mashitisho to provide these reasons based on recent transgressions which she considers “serious”.

On Sunday, newspaper City Press reported that Mokonyane cited Mashitisho’s failure to finalise the terms of reference regarding investigations into various tenders in the department as her reason to suspend him.

The newspaper added that the real reason‚ according to two senior executives within the department‚ was Mashitisho’s refusal to sign a letter authorising a law firm to start work at the department.

Reports said Mokonyane wanted the law firm to be handpicked without following the proper procurement process to probe a number of contracts in the department.

Ndamase did not comment on the reasons cited by the newspaper.

“Adherence to the principles of confidentiality in the matter is critical so as not to tarnish the integrity of the director general before a fitting process has been finalised,” he said. “In this regard, once a response is received and considered, a decision on the matter will be made accordingly.”

Ndamase also said the process was confidential and a matter between the employer and the employee concerned.

“As with all such matters, the department and ministry will be guided by established legislation and labour practices in this regard,” he added.