Following a lengthy internal inquiry, SA Tourism (SAT) CEO Sisa
Ntshona has been found not guilty of charges levelled against him.
The board had placed Ntshona on precautionary suspension in
April after receiving an anonymous tip-off from a whistle-blower. The board
remains mum on the nature of the investigations and Ntshona himself, had said
he didn’t know why he was suspended.
Speaking to Fin24 after receiving the news, Ntshona had
“Yesterday I was over the moon about the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report naming SA as the leading tourism destination in Africa – and then I get informed by the board about a whistle-blower tip-off making allegations.”
The embattled executive said he was surprised at how long it
took the board to give further details on what he was actually being charged
Sthembiso Dlamini was then appointed as acting CEO so that
the organisation’s work continued smoothly.
SA Tourism: The investigation is to allow a free and fair
The national tourism agency said it was obligated to thoroughly
investigate the allegations, in the best interest of all parties concerned.
“This would allow the CEO to focus on responding to the
allegations as well as guarantee the integrity and transparency of the process
to be followed”, the board said in a statement at the time.
Ntshona’s suspension has done little to ease the leadership
instability at the agency. Four board members – Pam Yako (chairperson), Tanya
Abrahamse (deputy chairperson), David Frost (CEO of Southern Africa Tourism
Services Association) and Mohammed Baba subsequently resigned.
Two new board members have been appointed – Zola Tshefu and
The functionality of SA Tourism remains a priority
The investigation was conducted by law firm Bowmans and
finalised in July. While addressing concerns over the Department of Tourism’s
audit outcomes and performance, minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane touched on
the allegations, of which she was given a report.
“She gave concurrence for the disciplinary process to be
instituted as she believed that Mr Ntshona must be afforded his day to answer
on these serious investigation findings. This process must be allowed to take
its course and the board appointed an independent chairperson to ensure
fairness of the process”, her office said in a statement.
In the midst of the process, Kubayi-Ngubane said the
national agency’s functioning and stability remained a priority and that she
would continue engaging the board.