Source: Dorine Reinstein
Jacques Modipane, CEO of the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Association (MTPA), has been suspended with immediate effect. The MTPA Board of Directors said in a statement that Modipane’s suspension revolved around continuous irregular expenditure and the theft of rhino horns at the MTPA premises, which took place in April last year. The Board said Modipane would receive full remuneration and benefits during his suspension pending the outcome of a comprehensive investigation.
William Sipho Lubisi, Chairperson of the MTPA Board, explained: “The Board took office effective September 2014 and our mandate was to stabilise, transform and put the agency on a commercial trajectory to realise its potential. Part of that process includes identifying and addressing the challenges that the entity has faced in the past years and working towards clarifying our vision and defining our strategy towards the achievement of our goal to be a world-class tourism destination.”
Anthony Benadie, DA Spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, had predicted quite some time ago, however, that Modipane would be likely to get a golden handshake as a result of political interference by Mpumalanga’s Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC, Eric Kholwane.
According to Benadie’s sources, Kholwane would like to ‘sack’ Modipane as a result of disagreements that have arisen when the MEC reinstated the former Chief Operating Officer, Edward Thwala. The MEC insisted that Thwala be paid all monies and benefits ‘due to him’ since the termination of his employment in April 2014 – an amount rumoured to be close to R500 000. “Thwala’s sudden reinstatement has caused great rifts within the MTPA,” said Benadie.
According to Benadie, removing Modipane from his role would have a devastating impact on the MTPA, which has been plagued by factionalism and internal instability for many years. He said: “Not only will the leadership instability in this entity deteriorate further but, if sacked, Modipane will be entitled to have his contract as CEO paid out in a golden handshake. Given the MTPA’s financial challenges, they simply cannot afford to have another CEO sacked with a golden handshake, only to replace him with another CEO who is better aligned to the dominant faction within the Provincial Government.”