Mr Mantshantsha through this article alleges that Mr Letsebe has misled the Agency regarding his qualifications and that the Agency appointed him because of favouritism quoting an “anonymous” employee.
The second paragraph of the article says that the Agency falsely claimed that Mr Letsebe possesses a law degree. This allegation is based on the statement of the 8th October 2009 issued by the MDDA and corrected on the 30th October 2009 through a statement issued by the Agency published in the press office and the website. This correction was published by such media as Bizcommunity.
Mr Mantshantsha incorrectly says in his second last paragraph that the corrected version was sent only to Fin24.com, he says, “no other media houses were sent the ‘corrected' version”
Further, the article again quoting an “anonymous” employee says that the MDDA CEO threatened staff after Fin24.com quizzed him about this allegation. The MDDA CEO disputes this as misinformation and unfounded. On the 30th October 2009, the CEO convened a staff meeting alerting them of this article which was to be published on the 31st October 2009 according to Mr Mantshantsha. By the way, this article was now only published on the 13th November 2009, 14 days after the information was provided.
The CEO in convening the meeting was preparing his team for the news that was to be published against one of his staff members, provided the facts about the appointment process of Mr Letsebe and asked members of the team to base their engagements on this matter on facts. This is how the meeting ended; there was never a threat to anyone by the CEO.
The Agency reinforces its statement that Mr Letsebe was appointed on merit, on the basis of his vast relevant experience, skills and expertise. He has been with the MDDA from its inception as a Programme Manager (Community Media) which is responsible for 60% of the grant fund. He was part of the process of setting up the Agency, its systems and procedures. He brings a wealth of experience in grant making, leadership and knowledge of the media industry. He has been involved in media development for more than 10 years.
The facts regarding Mr Letsebe (at least as far as the Agency information and investigations) are that:
- the error (made in a statement published on the 08th October) which was corrected in a public statement (regarding the law degree) did not influence the appointment of Mr Letsebe. The error was made days after he was appointed. The requirements for the position of Projects Director do not include a law degree.
- Subsequent to being quizzed by Fin24.com, the Agency verified this and acknowledged that the statement had an error. Then, immediately issued a public correction, posted it onto our press office and website and sent it to the Fin24.com. The correction was published by the media like Bizcommunity.
- There was nothing illegal or irregular in the appointment process of the Projects Director. The appointment was adjudicated in accordance with MDDA Human Resources Policy and Procedures Manual.
Mr Mantshantsha further writes that Mr Letsebe misled the Agency about his Wits and UCT certificates. The MDDA wants to put it on record that it has certificates of Mr Letsebe's qualifications (certificates from Wits and UCT). Mr Letsebe is seeking legal advice in this regard, as the unfortunate reality is that this article has defamed his character and his integrity. The Agency would like to put it on record that no threatening of staff was done by the CEO and that Mr Letsebe was appointed on the merit of his equivalent experience not the law degree, secondly that he has submitted certificates from UCT and Wits.
South Africa should not allow itself to be diverted from its mission to work together towards ensuring that each and every South African citizen has access to a choice of a diverse range of media through the work of Agencies like the MDDA. The MDDA and its partners are committed to promoting media development and diversity; and as a contribution to the transformation of the media in South Africa in the public interest.