Former Land Bank boss, Phil Mohlahlane was recently forced to resign following a lengthy investigation into his controversial appointment in July this year as CEO of the Limpopo Agribusiness Development Corporation (LADC). Limpopo agriculture department spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said that Mohlahlane resigned following a criminal charge over, among others, the questionable qualification documents submitted with his job application.
Mohlahlane was fired last year by the Land Bank after investigations found irregularities in the management of the bank’s Agri BEE funds of up to R100 million. Then, following his appointment to the LADC, he failed to produce copies of his qualifications months after the department had asked him to. Mathivha said suspicions were raised when it was found the PhD certificate that accompanied Mohlahlane’s CV was only certified in 2003.
“During the investigation, we found that Mohlahlane doesn’t even have a matric or senior certificate,” said Mathivha. “We checked with the education department in Pretoria where we learnt that he failed his matric in 1974 and never went back to finish.”
Mohlahlane could also not prove his PhD qualifications were legitimate, added Mathivha. “When we asked for copies of his qualifications, Mohlahlane kept coming with excuses, claiming to be sick.”These findings could mean Mohlahlane has defrauded the department for years as he has held many top positions, said Mathivha.
In 1998, Mohlahlane was appointed chief director of the Free State’s agriculture department. He was then transferred to the Limpopo agriculture department. He also served as a deputy director general at the national office before joining the Land Bank.
Before resigning, Mohlahlane was embroiled in a legal battle with the department, demanding to be paid a year’s salary. The department refused. “We only paid one month’s salary,” said Mathivha. “The MEC is still waiting for legal advice,” he added. “We’re going to lay criminal charges against Mohlahlane as he has been paid a salary for months based on fraudulent qualifications.”
The department is also still investigating the case against its former head of department, Bigman Maloa, who was suspended following allegations of financial mismanagement of more than R45 million. Maloa has since been moved to the national office, where he’s deputy director for food safety and biosecurity.