NEF CEO in hot water over R322 000 travel splurges

BY CHARL BOSCH - MAY 3, 2016

The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has come under renewed criticism after it was revealed that its CEO blew R322 373 on business class flights, as well as international and national hotel accommodation and vehicle rentals during the last financial year.

Responding to a parliamentary question submitted by the Democratic Alliance (DA), the NEF stated that of the amount, R189 213 was spent by Philisiwe Mthethwa on visits abroad, which included three trips to France as part of the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in October last year and meeting with various company CEO’s and representatives on two separate occasions.

In a statement, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, Dean Macpherson, said the party would be submitting an application to the department’s portfolio committee to have Mthethwa, who is the wife of Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, explain her travels to Parliament as well as the NEF’s apparent under performing in the appointment of black entrepreneurs.

“The NEF has been plagued with funding shortages with less and less jobs being created, it is scandalous that the CEO is allowed to live the good life while so many South African’s struggle to find work,” Macpherson said.

“On the jobs front, the NEF have created only 2 213 jobs by Feb 22nd 2016 or 40.8% of their annual target. On the value of deals approved, the NEF have only achieved 80% of their annual target and only 70% of the new commitments target by Feb 22nd 2016 with only a month left of the performance year”.

He also stated that the latest findings is proof that Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davis needs to take actions against Mthethwa, who made headlines in November 2014 when it was revealed that her salary was highest of any CEO in a government entity at R5 208 143 including bonuses worth over R2.2-million.

“In the previous financial year, Ms Mthethwa earned a basic salary of R2 421 512. In questioning this outrageous salary by the DA, the NEF CEO was unable and unwilling to justify these ludicrous amounts when compared to the pathetic results achieved by the NEF,” Macpherson said.

“It has now become abundantly clear that Minister Davies needs to reign in the Gucci-styled CEO and start putting black entrepreneurs first”.