DIRCO: DG Kgabo Mahoai axed ov

DIRCO: DG Kgabo Mahoai axed over R118-million New York property deal

Kgabo Mahoai faced charges related to irregular expenditure after DIRCO lost on a project to purchase land in New York

DIRCO: DG Kgabo Mahoai axed ov

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has confirmed that Minister Naledi Pandor has fired embattled Director-General Kgabo Mahoai over a botched New York land deal worth R118 million deal.

“Please be advised that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has terminated its employment relationship with Mr KE Mahoai following the conclusion of a disciplinary case instituted against the director-general,” Pandor said on Friday, 10 September 2021.

The minister said Ambassador Nonceba Losi would continue as acting director-general until further notice.

Mahoai’s firing comes a month after a disciplinary hearing found him guilty of several offences, including gross negligence, gross dereliction of duty and breach of legal obligation, as well as irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

Mahoai faced charges related to irregular expenditure incurred by DIRCO on an unsuccessful project to purchase a piece of land in New York (USA) for purposes of constructing premises to accommodate South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and New York Consulate.

DIRCO guns for GD Kgabo Mahoai

The disciplinary hearing found that in March 2017, Kgabo Mahoai, then acting director-general, gave the greenlight for a payment of close to R118 million to a company called Serendipity SA Investment LLC for the New York property, without a legally valid basis and despite Treasury having not approved it.

In his defense, Mahoai claimed in the disciplinary hearing that the R118 million pre-payment had been approved by his predecessor as director-general, Jerry Matjila, who had left to become South Africa’s ambassador to the UN.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) reckons Mahoai is being made a scapegoat in the failed deal and took aim at former DIRCO Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

“I believe that the minister believes she will use the public coffers to buy the problems away and Dirco, which is already sitting without the two bulls in the kraal, will continue to remain rudderless and leaderless and we will continue to embarrass ourselves on the international stage,” said Bergman.