Mamodupi Mohlala accused of acting with impunity, using ‘lawyer’s tactics’ at agency board

Mamodupi Mohlala, the CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board, has been accused of acting with impunity, taking no accountability for her actions and personally attacking those who question her.

2020-03-31 08:00:00 AM

Estate Agency Affairs Board CEO Mamodupi Mohlala has been accused of acting with impunity, taking no accountability & personally attacking those who question her – “made in the style of a criminal lawyer who must cast doubt on the opposition to win a case”

Mamodupi Mohlala, the CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board, has been accused of acting with impunity, taking no accountability for her actions and personally attacking those who question her.

Mamodupi Mohlala. Picture: Cebile NtuliRelated LinksSet-top boxes: Why stop after 10 years and R10bn of taxpayers’ money?Mamodupi Mohlala, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Estate Agency Affairs Board, has been accused of acting with impunity, taking no accountability for her actions and personally attacking those who question her – “made in the style of a criminal lawyer who must cast doubt on the opposition to win a case”.

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The accusations are contained in a scathing resignation letter that Sedzani Mudau, the chairperson of the board’s audit risk committee, tendered on March 15.Mohlala claimed Mudau’s conduct had cost the board more than R2 million without adding value to the organisation.

In the letter, obtained by City Press, Mudau accused the board for failing to protect her and reprimanded Mohlala for the many instances when the CEO had attacked her in meetings.“Unfortunately, the current board permitted a culture of impunity on the CEO, rendering it difficult to add the necessary value to the organisation as recommendations are persistently ignored by the management team, and misrepresentation continues to thrive without any consequences,” she wrote.

“As a self-respecting professional, it has become impossible for me to add the much-needed value under the current environment where the CEO and management team cannot be held to account by the board but instead appear to be eloquently driving the board successfully.”

In response, Mohlala hit back and threatened to approach the courts to declare Mudau a delinquent director.She claimed Mudau’s conduct had cost the board more than R2 million without adding value to the organisation.Mohlala’s tenure at the board has been a bumpy one, with one of the board members, Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, informing Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu last October about “the current CEO’s conduct and corporate governance violations”.

The board’s IT staff member, Tumisho Motsepe, also alleged that, since Mohlala’s arrival, she had “arbitrarily removed our benefits such as long-term service and performance bonuses” and introduced “sweeping changes which led to a staff exodus and overall frustration”.

At the time, Mohlala claimed Kula-Ameyaw had an axe to grind against her after she questioned the board member’s travels to Ghana, for which the agency had paid R90 000 despite a moratorium on international travel.She announced that she was suing Motsepe for calling her a bully and an autocratic leader and denied bullying staff members.

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In her resignation letter, Mudau accused Mohlala of having violated several corporate governance prescripts, made low-quality submissions and failed to submit critical documents for scheduled meetings.“The audit risk committee has reported various instances of misrepresentations by the CEO to the board. Despite these, the board has neither held the CEO to account nor attempted to set the right ethical tone in addressing these issues. It is unfortunate that those initial misrepresentations have to date increased in multitudes, and an ungovernable attitude is thriving within the management as led by the CEO,” she wrote.

“The CEO has, on various occasions, attempted to cast aspersions on my technical ability and character. The board has indirectly permitted the CEO to make such personal attacks during its meetings without any reprimand. These personal attacks are made in the style of a criminal lawyer who must cast doubt on the opposition to win a case. There has never been an instance when the board guided the CEO to stick to the merits of what was tabled instead of making personal attacks on the representative of the audit risk committee,” Mudau said.

Mohlala claimed that Mudau made bloated claims when she stretched one board meeting to “over three days for the same subject matter.However, Mohlala said she was not letting Mudau’s allegations go unchallenged and had drafted a seven-page letter to the board.

Mohlala claimed that Mudau made bloated claims when she stretched one board meeting to “over three days for the same subject matter. As audit risk committee chair, Ms Mudau is well aware of the consequences of such overspending as per the Public Finance Management Act, the implications thereof on the audit process. This is a direct result of her failure to ensure sound financial spending.”

But Mudau said Mohlala’s allegations “are nothing but another personal smear campaign as alluded to in my resignation letter”.She said there “has been a lot of negative publicity regarding the board since last year and somehow the CEO has been a common denominator in all these negative reports, which is an indicator of something that is not right. It appears that the CEO starts a smear campaign against any person who is diligent and challenges all things that are not correct per governance.”

In a letter responding to Mudau, Mohlala wrote: “Ms Mudau should be held accountable for failing to diligently execute her fiduciary responsibilities. Her presence in the audit risk committee has cost the board in excess of R2 472 428 ... with little value delivered.”

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Mudau denied that her actions had cost the agency more than R2 million. She said Mohlala’s intention to go to court to declare a delinquent director was misplaced.Mudau’s resignation letter is a disingenuous smokescreen aimed at diverting attention from some of the serious governance breaches under her watch

Mamodupi Mohlala“I’m not part of the board of directors. I am appointed by the board as an independent member of the audit risk committee. How can there be an application to declare me a delinquent director while I’m not part of the board of directors? My performance is measured by the board, not the CEO. To date, there has not been a complaint about my performance by the board. There is no such action by the board.”

Mohlala said: “Mudau’s resignation letter is a disingenuous smokescreen aimed at diverting attention from some of the serious governance breaches under her watch … It is also very telling that Ms Mudau resigned two days after a board meeting [at which] some of these breaches were agenda items up for discussion.”

Nkosinathi Biko, the board chairperson, said Mohlala was acting on her own volition [by going to court] as the board had not made any resolution on taking action against any of its members.“The assertions in the correspondence by Ms Mudau are yet to be tested. For this reason they will be subjected to normal processes by the board to settle the facts from the allegations. It is within the rights of any member to raise their views. It is, however, a serious concern that the views that implicate others, in this case principally the CEO, are in the public before due process,” Biko said.

He said it was “regrettable that these stories have been associated with persons who were invited to serve in various structures of the entity, primarily because of their professional complements”.He denied that the board was incapacitated and said he found it deplorable that board correspondences, which are internal documents, were leaked to the media.

“Against this background, I have notified the chairpersons of both social and ethics, the chairperson of human resources, as well as the company secretary, to convene an urgent special meeting of the board at which these matters will be discussed and the requisite corrective steps taken. The outcome of this will be communicated to our stakeholders,” he said.

Read more: City Press »

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