Minister Edna Molewa pays tribute to former CEO of South African Weather Service (SAWS)

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has thanked the outgoing CEO of the South African Weather Service (SAWS) Dr Linda Makuleni, for her contribution.

In a media statement released on the 9th November 2016, the SAWS Board clarified that it had decided to release the CEO of her responsibilities with effect from 02 November 2016. This, the Board announced, was in light of her contract coming to an end.

Minister Molewa has expressed her gratitude to Dr Makuleni on the manner in which she led the organisation, and wished her well in her future endeavours.

Under Dr Makuleni's leadership SAWS has been steered into one of the world's leading national Meteorological Services, said Minister Molewa.

Dr. Molewa further noted that during her tenure, Dr. Makuleni together with the SAWS Board had displayed immense dedication and total commitment to our meteorological services. Dr. Makuleni also served on the Board of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The Department notes stories carried in the media that have linked Dr. Makuleni's departure with allegations of graft and tender irregularities made by a 'whistleblower' inside SAWS. These ostensibly form the basis of a 'report' from the Public Protector.

DEA wishes to place it on record that it has not received any report containing recommendations or findings against any of the SAWS management from the Office of the Public Protector. The Department has also not been requested to input or answer questions around this matter at any point from the Public Protector.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) is an entity falling within the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), hence a legitimate expectation that any investigation of any nature against SAWS by the office of the Public Protector would be directed to DEA.

DEA has engaged with the office of the Public Protector to obtain clarity on this matter since receiving a request from a member of Parliament.

As far back as November 2015 DEA wrote to the PP's office to determine whether it was proceeding with an investigation into the allegations made in the media.

The Department was then informed in writing that a complaint had been received � but that it was 'still new and still to be allocated to an investigator.'

In a follow-up by the Department a month later, the office of the PP indicated that the matter had been accorded a reference number. The PP's office was also unable to indicate whether there had been any other complaints regarding SAWS.

The allegations made in the whistleblower's report are not new.

The SAWS board has conducted two investigations through external investigators and found no evidence of wrongdoing. We are currently finalizing a third investigation and maintain that should any evidence of wrongdoing be produced, we will act without fear or favour.

To date, the Department has received no follow-up correspondence from the Office of the Public Protector regarding his matter.

Taking the above into account, Minister Molewa has cautioned against a 'trial by media' that serves to prejudice Dr. Makuleni and cause reputational harm to SAWS.

Allegations raised by anonymous sources in the media remain untested, and I would urge all parties to refrain from speculation, says Dr. Molewa.

The Department has always retained the utmost confidence in the former CEO Dr. Makuleni and continues to do so in the entire SAWSstaff and senior managers as well as in the non-executive Board members.

Source: Department of Environmental Affairs