Nothing untoward about Mr Lebelo’s appointment as Chief of Staff
The Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) continues to field media questions over Mr. Luther Lebelo’s recent appointment as Chief of Staff. The queries in question have necessitated the need to set the record straight once and for all.
Mr. Lebelo, who reports directly to the Public Protector, commenced his two-year, fixed-term role at the beginning of December 2021 following a successful job interview on 17 November 2021. Along with several other jobseekers, he had applied for the position shortly after the PPSA advertised the vacancy on 11 October 2021 following the untimely passing of the former incumbent.
Prior to joining the PPSA, he spent more than a year at the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, where he held, among other positions, that of Chief Director: Media, Marketing and Communication.
A rigorous vetting process was carried out ahead of offering him the job. This included criminal, qualification and reference checks. It was during that process that the PPSA learned that Mr. Lebelo and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) parted ways on the basis of a mutual separation agreement, which makes it clear that neither of the parties admitted liability and that the separation did not constitute a dismissal. It has also been publicly reported that SARS paid him R1.2million to leave.
Except for commentary and remarks about Mr. Lebelo and a recommendation that he be disciplined for an opinion piece carried in the Business Day newspaper in 2016, an issue for which he was disciplined, there is no adverse finding against him in the Nugent Commission Report. Moreover, there is no mention of his name in the part of the State Capture Commission Report dealing with SARS-related matters.
Information of the findings of the two commissions is public. It is therefore unclear why all the innuendos. The PPSA will not comment any further on the matter.