Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2001-01-31 Reporter: Bonile Ngqiyaza Editor:

New Row Involving Heath Unit Surfaces

Publication  Business Day
Date 2001-01-31
Reporter Bonile Ngqiyaza
Web Link

A FRESH row involving the Heath special investigating unit has surfaced indicating a racial split between the mostly white senior management and the unit's black staff.

As Justice Minister Penuell Maduna conferred in Durban with a delegation of five unit members yesterday, some black staff members levelled charges of nepotism, corruption and maladministration at the unit's management.

The five-member delegation which claimed to represent the unit's staff had asked for yesterday's meeting with Maduna to clear uncertainty about their future and that of the unit. In a leaked letter, the black members of the unit who have written to Maduna anonymously appear to put in question the five's claim that they represent all the unit's staff.

Maduna's spokesman, Paul Setsetse, has confirmed receipt of the letter. In the correspondence, the black staff members criticise the efforts culminating in yesterday's meeting, saying these were meant to safeguard the salaries and positions of the unit's white component.

The correspondence says "out of 13 managers in the unit, there is only one black and one female." The unit's spokeswoman, Naomi Goodley, confirmed this but refused to comment on any aspect of the letter's content because she had not seen it.

The group also accuses a manager of nepotism. The group criticises the head of the unit, Judge Willem Heath, for comments he allegedly made concerning the resignation of seven "affirmative action" candidates.

The group says "it is not proper to attach a label of affirmative action appointments to members of colour as they (were) appointed on merit."

With acknowledgement to Bonile Ngqiyaza and Business Day.