South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has determined that the irregular appointment of Mabutho Zwane to the position of CEO of the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board cannot be rectified at this stage.
While Ms. Madonsela announced that Zwane should never have been appointed, she claimed that it is too late to remedy the situation. “The appointment should be deemed condoned,” she said.
“With regard to remedial action, I have only sought to fix the future as the past is too far gone.” Zwane has been the center of this dispute for more than three years.
Allegations of Improper Appointment Substantiated
Following allegations that Zwane’s appointment to the position of Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board CEO was improper, Ms. Madonsela conducted an investigation to determine whether he met the minimum requirements for the position, and whether the appointment was made in accordance with the Gambling and Betting Act requirements.
In Madonsela’s statement she concluded that the appointment was indeed improper. “The board’s appointment of Mr. Zwane constitutes improper conduct and an act of maladministration.”
Zwane failed to disclose information that would have disqualified him. At the time of the appointment, he was the domestic partner of an employee of South Africa's Department of Education. Maladministration resulted when the board failed to consult with the relevant MEC about the appointment. Madonsela found that Zwane did meet the minimum requirements for the post.
CEO Also Made Member of the Board
As an integral part of the investigation, Madonsela considered whether or not the CEO of the gambling board would also be a member of the board. This would require the CEO to meet all the ethical standards that are demanded of board members.
Madonsela quoted section six of the Gambling and Betting Act which states that a CEO is a member of the board by virtue of his position, while other board members must be appointed by a “responsible member.”
The Public Protector concluded that “nothing in the act seems to distinguish his position from other board members” and that “despite the board’s….protest, my finding is that a CEO who is an ex-officio member of a board, is a member of the board and therefore subject to all ethical standards required by board members.”
While Madonsela said she could not reverse the appointment, she has recommended that an implementation plan be devised to ensure that future appointments comply with legal prescripts and procedures.