Mthabisi Moyo

South African whistleblower dismissed after reporting recruitment influencing and abuse

“PPLAAF has been the shining light searched for by whistleblowers when they go through emotionally scarring retaliation. I now consider myself an agent of change due to the empowerment opportunities.”

Mthabisi Moyo

Mathabisi Moyo’s journey with Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) – an economic development agency that supports small and medium-sized enterprises in South Africa – exposes alleged corporate malfeasance and various forms of wrongdoings. Moyo alleges that he was lured into a web of corruption with performance incentives, orchestrated by the then-Chief Executive Officer through the Unit Head. As he rejected these dubious inducements and attempted to blow the whistle internally, he suffered a series of retaliation, from abrupt removal from his unit to his suspension and eventual dismissal.

Furthermore, Moyo contends that he was misled by the Financial Manager and the Chief Finance Officer, leading him to face charges and being entangled in a civil suit that soon became a financial burden of millions of rands. As a result, his pension was frozen, legal fees spiralled into debt, and his family unit disintegrated. 

Moyo alleges that the then acting CEO abused the recruitment process by reducing the required qualification criteria from Postgraduate to Diploma level for executive positions. At the time, the acting CEO only had a diploma qualification.  With his Union, Moyo reported this to the acting CEO, the Board, the Portfolio Committee, and the Gauteng Legislature Portfolio Committee on Economic Development. The Union eventually resorted to a two-day protected strike against the ongoing actions of the CEO and Members of the Executive Committee (MEC). 

He alleged as well that his unit – which was the main revenue-generating unit – was being abused and allocated funds to non-qualifying small and medium enterprises. In this regard, he co-authorised a letter to the Board reporting various wrongdoings by the CEO and her executive. 

As a result, Moyo was removed from his unit. He contested the demotion to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) which reversed it. Later on, he was suspended but managed to conditionally rescind his suspension to a conciliation stage. However, Moyo was told that he would not be allowed access to his laptop and would be reassigned to different duties. Moyo turned down this offer and requested that the CCMA proceed with arbitration. At the arbitration level, the CCMA ruled that it no longer had jurisdiction to rule over the fairness of the suspension as the employer had lifted it. 

Moyo was ultimately dismissed and told to immediately vacate the premises. He claims that his dismissal was unfair because his union was never informed nor was he given the opportunity to defend himself. Additionally, the dismissal came the day after a Union meeting resolved to meet with the MEC to discuss with them the possibility of replacing the acting CEO. This would have allowed for a full investigation into all maladministration without interference.

Furthermore, Moyo alleges that the Finance Manager and CFO misled him in their assistance, resulting in gross negligence, as he was not given the proper training and was assigned missions beyond his remit and responsibilities. In this regard, he was charged on three accounts: non-compliance with policy (sending out an invoice to stakeholders not in line with the format and invoicing procedure of the GEP), fraud (in relation to the invoice being for private benefit), and gross dishonesty (using company letterhead for the invoice). The charges were drawn without investigation. 

PPLAAF supported Moyo as he recovered from the ramifications of blowing the whistle and helped him consolidate collaborative efforts in the anti-corruption field. Moyo has since founded Minenhle Global Consulting (MGC), a company providing Anti-Corruption and Business Ethics consulting services.  

PPLAAF is a non-governmental organisation established in 2017 to protect whistleblowers, as well as to advocate and engage in strategic litigation on their behalf when their revelations deal with the general interests of African citizens.

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