New drama is unfolding at the State IT Agency (SITA), as the Pretoria High Court reinstated sacked directors while suspending the interim board of directors appointed on 21 July.
ITWeb broke the news in July that the conflict stemmed from a major disagreement between Mondli Gungubele, minister of communications and digital technologies; and the fired board, chaired by Makano Mosidi, over the salary of then-MD Dr Bongani Mabaso.
An entity of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, SITA sits as a central pillar of government's IT procurement arm.
Gungubele terminated the terms of Mosidi, deputy chairperson; Dr Stella Bvuma; Zimbini Hill; Matodzi Ratshimbilani; Rendani Ramabulana; Olwethu Zoliswa Ketsekile; and Dr Tshilidzi Ratshitanga.
Mosidi, Ramabulani, and Ketsekile launched a judicial challenge to their removal from the board, and the court ruled in their favour last week.
In a decision delivered on Friday, the court ordered that: “The decision by the (first respondent) minister of communications and digital technologies dismissing the members of the board of directors of SITA, on 18 July 2023 or 21 July 2023, be suspended pending the finalisation of Part B hereof.”
Secondly, it said the decision by the minister to appoint the interim board of directors for SITA be suspended.
The court added that the board of directors of SITA removed or dismissed on 18 July 2023 or 21 July 2023 be reinstated.
The minister was also ordered to pay the cost of this application on party and party client scale.
The conflict concerned an adjustment in the MD's salary, which requires the minister's permission.
According to records seen by ITWeb, Mabaso’s remuneration had been boosted to R4.5 million per year, up from R3.5 million earned by his predecessor.
Mabaso succeeded Luvuyo Keyise, who was SITA's executive caretaker.
Contacted for comment by ITWeb if she will be returning to SITA as chair, Mosidi said she hasn’t “even applied my mind but yes most likely”.
In a statement to ITWeb, the communications department says: “The minister of communications and digital technologies, Mondli Gungubele, intends to appeal the court ruling which overturned his decision to remove several board members of SITA.”
The court ruling comes as SITA faces a slew of challenges, including a struggle to fill critical C-suite positions.
Altron said at the time of appointment that Mabaso's position will include executing the group development plan, with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and data analytics, as well as expanding the platform ecosystem.
SITA has faced numerous hurdles in the past 20-years.
These include claims of corruption and mismanagement, time-consuming procurement processes, leadership instability, and a clientele that is growing increasingly dissatisfied with the poor quality of service delivery. The auditor-general has also labelled it as irregular.