Staff accuse Freedom Park CEO Mufamadi of nepotism and corruption

Published Jun 23, 2024


STAFF at the Freedom Park heritage site have accused their CEO Dr Jane Mufamadi of maladministration, corruption, and promoting “ethnic values informed by tribal instincts” at the entity.

The staffers at one of the country’s flagship sites want Mufamadi put on suspension while the allegations about her are being investigated.

A letter purportedly authored by disgruntled employees dated February 26, 2024, sent to the Arts & Culture Department, argued that in recent times, Freedom Park has been in both public media and Parliament news for nefarious reasons that tend to compromise and dilute the magnitude and significance of the entity.

“Under Dr Jane Mufamadi, Freedom Park has been turned into a sectarian organisation that in addition to this horrendous action, has been embroiled under corruption of high proportions and maladministration. As concerned staff of Freedom Park, we tabulate below a litany of examples of gross maladministration and corrupt activities under Dr Jane Mufamadi,” read the letter.

The employees added that Mufamadi had initiated an email only for Venda-speaking staff members, adding that she led a Venda-speaking staffers in writing a letter to Parliament without the knowledge of other staff members and the Human Resources Department.

Among other allegations, they told the ministry that she allegedly bought herself a Mercedes Benz using public funds.

“Awarding and influencing a security tender through which her friends and family members benefited.

“Interference on the interview process of storytellers and cleaners with a clear motive to appoint Venda-speaking people. A storyteller was not appointed for being gay, while the cleaner was not appointed for being lesbian. We would like the Ministry to help probe this matter further.

“Rampant suspensions and expulsions of staff who are not Venda speaking. For some time, there has been polarisation of Freedom Park along ethnic lines. Dr Jane Mufamadi is the main orchestrator of this heinous campaign.

“Appointment of Venda companies as service providers to Freedom Park. About ninety percent (90%) of companies who got tenders from Freedom Park are owned by Venda people and failure to recover some of R350 000 from a company that is owned by Venda.

The staffers went on to ask for an investigation into the expulsion of the Head of the Department, Dr Otsile Ntsoane, for allegedly attending the funeral of the late Commissar Mbulelo Musi in 2023, adding that in the disciplinary hearing, the presiding officers were both Venda people who were allegedly paid “scaringly exorbitant amounts” to execute the cruel action against Ntsoane.

They also alleged that a branch union leader Jabulani Phelago was allegedly suspended for writing a letter to the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Arts and Culture raising some concerns about the entity.

The staff members stated that they were prepared to present all the supporting documents to the ministry.

Approached for comment, Mufamadi denied all allegations and said they were nothing new.

“These allegations have been made since around three to five years back, taking many forms and being ventilated on different platforms. For instance, these have been made to the Public Protector, who issued a report exonerating the CEO and the organisation. The allegations have also been made to the portfolio committee, which also found no basis for their being made.

“Last, they were made to the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture. The minister requested a presentation, after which the allegations were dismissed. An internal investigation also revealed that the allegations are baseless.

“It is our view and serious concern that the allegations as they are presented now are a rehash of the previous ones. We are left with no other consideration to make than to argue that the allegations are spurious and aimed at destabilising Freedom Park during this current political transition period in the country. They are actions of desperate and faceless persons who are unable to show their identity so that they may stand by the courage of their convictions.

“The organisation will not allow itself to be distracted in the good work that it is doing. We also challenge the accusers to show their faces, as well as the journalists testing the allegations in an open manner, where the organisation can respond to real people. It is also our hope that you will peruse the evidence as stated and compare it with various policies to separate perception and facts or policy breaches,” said Mufamadi.

The Arts Ministry had not replied to our request for comment by the time of publication.

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