Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has suspended the Director-General of the department, Gwebinkundla Qonde, following a disclaimer by the Auditor-General. The Director-General in the Department of Science and Innovation Phil Mjwara will act in the position until investigations have been concluded.
Qonde is one of the longest-serving DGs in government as he has been in charge of the department after the split of the department of education into two; basic education and higher education, more than 10 years ago.
In a statement, the department of higher education said the suspension came into effect on Friday.
“The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, notes the precautionary suspension of the Director-General (DG) of the Department of Higher Education and Training, Mr Gwebinkundla Qonde,” said the department in a statement. The suspension of the DG is in terms of the Public Service Act and the SMS handbook, in the wake of a disclaimer audit opinion by the Auditor-General of South Africa,” it said.
The minister called on staff members to cooperate with the acting DG in the department.
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