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Committee demands accountability on premature contract termination of SA weather service CEO

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs has noted the irregular expenditure incurred by the SA Weather Service as a result of the premature termination of the employment of former Chief Executive Officer Dr Linda Makuleni.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Phillemon Mapulane, said the hurried nature of Dr Makuleni's exit is of great concern. He asked the Board to explain why individual members of the Board should not be held liable for the irregular expenditure.

"It is unclear why the Board opted to pay Dr Makuleni for eight months, more than the remaining five months of her contract, a settlement amount of R2 million. This is irregular expenditure, as Dr Makuleni could have easily served her full term had the Board acted rationally," Mr Mapulane said.

On Wednesday, the Committee was informed about the alleged breakdown in the relationship between the Board Chairperson and the former CEO, and heard that certain members of the Board were instrumental in pushing the former CEO out.

"This has a potential to impact on the governance and performance of the entity. You can't operate the Weather Service with leadership that is fraught with instability. People entrusted to lead entities that provide a critical service to the country must exercise caution and prudence with taxpayers' money," Mr Mapulane said.

The Committee underscored the need to further discuss Dr Makuleni's resignation, particularly the reasons for relieving her of her responsibilities, and the irritation and disrespect that certain members of the Board exhibited towards the Committee.

The Committee will decide on what it deems proper to resolve this matter and hence prevent further use of power and resources of the public to settle trivial, personal matters. Parliament has the mandate to demand accountability from officials who are public servants, Mr Mapulane said.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.
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