The Competition Commission announced today a number of senior appointments to close gaps opened in an apparently volatile labour relations environment in the organisation over the past 12 months or so. However the Commission still runs with an acting Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele, following the departure of Shan Ramburuth under acrimonious circumstances in October last year.
In an statement released today the Commission announced the appointment of Liberty Mncube as Chief Economist and Manager of the Policy and Research division. Junior Khumalo as Divisional Manager of Enforcement and Exemptions and Thomas Kgokolo as Chief Financial Officer. The commission said all these appointments were effective from 1 January 2014.
These appointments will be closely watched by a wide varierty of stakeholders given the Commission’s stature in South Africa’s socioeconomic discourses. Rambruth left behind an extremley engaged organisation. The profile of the Commission has been raised after processing a number of hot cases i9n the recent past including the cartel in the contruction industry. The Commission has just taken up a mamoth task of looking into the healthcare industry. This makes the Commission one of the most watched public entities in the country.
There os also the fact that the Commission seems to have run with volatile labour relations for a while. There are theories that this factor contributed into the departure of Ramburuth. This suggest that Ramburuth’s abuse of the organisation’s resources via the surfing of pornographic websites came to tilt already broken relations.
Shortly before the Ramburuth matter exploded in October last year, the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) was agitating for corrective action in what the union described as “toxic working environment”.
A statement issued by Nehawu on the 10th of September 2013 said “NEHAWU is deeply concerned by escalating acts of victimisation and the violations of workers’ rights by the management at the Competition Commission. This follows the suspension of several employees without following proper procedures and the flouting of the Commission’s internal policies. This has resulted in the commission experiencing a high rate of staff turnover in the past two years. Recently, we have seen the exit of not only the former Deputy Commissioner and the Chief Economist, but several other divisional managers, including the Chief Financial Officer.”
The positions listed in the NEHAWU protest have now been filled.
Acting Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said “The new appointees will provide the necessary leadership to their very important divisions. It is important that we have a very strong and stable senior management team and I have full confidence that this team will take the Commission to higher levels. We are privileged as an institution that we are able to find most candidates internally and thereby ensure continuity. I am looking forward to working with the new members of our EXCO and wish them well in their new positions.”