SAMSA appoints four top managers to fill gap of three suspended executives.

Pretoria: 03 May 2021

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) has confirmed the appointment of four management members to fill up temporarily three executive positions left vacant early last week following to the suspension of three top officials.

The three suspended senior managers consisted of Chief Operating Officer (COO) and former Acting Chief Executive, Mr Sobantu Tilayi; Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), Ms Lesego Mashishi and Company Secretary, Mr Moyahabo Raphadu. The three top managers were suspended on full pay effective on Monday, 26 April 2021.

In Pretoria at the weekend, SAMSA Acting CEO Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane announced the names of Mr Vusi September, current Head of Corporate Affairs, Government, and International Relations as acting Chief Human Capital Officer. Ms Shelorne Muller, currently the assistant Company Secretary will take over temporarily as Company Secretary.

The position of COO meanwhile will be managed consecutively by Captain Vernon Keller, currently the Deputy COO, and Mr Ian Calvert, current Executive Manager: Marine Special Projects. The shared responsibility for the COO post sees Capt. Keller taking over with effect from 01 May to 30 June 2021 and thereafter passing the baton to Mr Calvert through to end of August 2021.

The four managers will remain in the positions for the duration of the suspension of the three executives.

In announcing the action taken against the three executives on Monday last week, the SAMSA Board said the suspensions were precautionary and that the decision to suspend them was based on “whistle-blowing and reports of alleged misconduct received from external and internal stakeholders.”

The Board’s action came barely two months after the secondment of a senior Department of Transport official, Ms Tsepiso Taoana-Mashiloane as SAMSA’s new acting Chief Executive Officer, replacing Mr Tilayi who had been in that acting position since 2016.

Her appointment in turn had followed a few months after the appointment of a new Board at SAMSA by Department of Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula in the second half of 2020.

Leading the SAMSA Board is Ms Nthato Minyuku.

In its statement announcing the three top managers’ suspension on Tuesday a week ago, the Board said: “A through forensic investigation will be undertaken on the range of serious allegations related to the three (3) executives. The precautionary suspensions will provide an opportunity for the Board to undertake an independent forensic investigation.

“These suspensions are necessary to ensure that the Board investigations are efficient and free of any potential interference in order to be completed within a reasonable time frame.

“The Board will be guided by the findings and recommendations of the forensic investigation on which appropriate steps will be taken with the 3 executives.

“In the interim, the Board has mandated the SAMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer to appoint suitable officials to act in all three (3) positions for the duration of precautionary suspensions in order to ensure business continuity,’ said the Board in a statement.

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