R7m abalone theft may never have happened

Former DDG Siphokazi Ndudane has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Image: David Harrison

Former department of agriculture, forestry & fisheries deputy director-general Siphokazi Ndudane’s co-accused in the alleged theft of abalone worth R7m has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Thembalethu Vico, the fisheries protection vessels director, was cleared in an internal disciplinary hearing.

In the ruling, dated January 10 2020, which the Daily Dispatch has seen, the disciplinary hearing chair, advocate Matthews Mojapelo, not only clears Vico on all 14 charges, citing a lack of evidence against him, but questions whether the abalone was stolen at all.

Former CFO Nazima Parker was fired in April 2019 for the alleged theft of the abalone from Daff facilities in Gansbaai, Western Cape, on January 8 2018.

Ndudane and Parker confirmed on Monday they would use the Vico ruling in challenging their dismissals.

Vico said he had been vindicated by the ruling.

“I am glad that the truth prevailed as I always believed that what was happening was an abuse of power since there never was a case against me.

“Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to me, the mighty powers used taxpayers’ money to bully employees who have to use their own limited resources to defend themselves. A legally experienced lawyer was hired to prosecute the non-existent case against me,” he said.

Read more of the story on DispatchLIVE

BY: MKULULI NDAMASE

SOURCE: DISPATCHLIVE

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