The appoint of Khoza follows a number of high profile resignations and allegations of maladministration experienced by the civil society organisation recently.
Khoza, a former ANC member who left the party to start her own political party recently stepped down as head of the African Democratic Change Party.
On Friday morning, Outa CEO Wayne Duvenage announced that Khoza would now head its new Local Government Strategy division, with the aim of curbing corruption and maladministration within the public sector.
“Dr Khoza needs very little introduction, standing up as an ardent champion and fighter against corruption and maladministration within government. At the risk of her own safety, she has spoken out and become an icon for truth, justice and good governance within the public sector,” said Duvenage during the announcement.
Outa recently underwent structural reform. Initially starting as a team of three, it now is an organisation of 40 people. The expansion into local government began six months ago, following a review of its significant growth areas. The organisation has a reputable presence in holding government accountable in the regulatory and energy sector.
“I hope to make maximum impact in this sphere of governance. Every citizen should take it upon themselves to ensure that municipalities are held accountable and to put an end to poor services, corruption, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” said Khoza on Friday.
“I am glad that we have a vehicle like Outa that belongs to every citizen in South Africa and that aims at achieving quality of life for all South Africans…When our taxes are misused, service delivery suffers and our quality of life is compromised,” continued Khoza.
Hailed as a principled politician, Khoza was fired from her parliamentary duties are calling for a vote of no confidence in former president Jacob Zuma. She went on to found the African Democratic Change Party. Soon after she announced her retirement from politics as a result of infighting within the new party.
“I have no regrets for having left the ANC and I still believe there is a space for ADC. However, that space is not necessarily a space that Makhosi wants to lead. The reality is that if I had stayed on with the ANC I would be dead by now,” said Khoza.
Outa’s civil engagements have mostly focused on holding national government accountable. With Khoza’s appointment, that focus will now include local municipalities.
According to Ferrial Adam, Outa chairperson: “Dr Khosa’s appointment will add a new and welcomed dimension to the organisation’s board. Outa is on a path to transforming accountability and transparency in South Africa at all levels and I am confident that we have the right team to do make this impact”.
In 2012, Outa was founded as the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance to challenge the e-toll system. Over the years, its’ civil activist work has broadened to fighting corruption and the misuse of taxpayers’ money.
In 2016 the organisation decided to expand its mandate to focus more nationally. Since then, it has introduced 78 projects across many sectors of government, including transport, water, communications, mining, and energy.
“It goes without saying that corruption and maladministration is rife in local municipalities where elected officials take advantage of insufficient oversight by political structures and largely ignore complaints from their respective local communities and ratepayers,” said Duvenage.
Outa will begin its local government focus on five municipalities including the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality and the Gert Sibande District Municipality.
“This new Local Government Division does not in any way detract from the work we have, and will continue to do in the area of holding national government and SoE’s to account, which is driven largely under the leadership of Ben Theron, Outa’s Chief Operating Officer” said Duvenage.
In recent weeks, Duvenage has found himself on the receiving end of much criticism from former colleagues.
A searing article was published by Mail and Guardian where former executives accused Duvenage of mismanagement and bypassing the board.
Former Executive member, Rob Handfield-Jones, resigned after only five months in office in July 2017. He accused Duvenage of holding all the power in decision making and leaving the board with no say in important matters. According to Handfield-Jones the board was just a “rubber stamp” to Duvenage’s plans.
However, Duvenage believes this is just a smear campaign by a disgruntled former executive. “He was not happy with the changes we were making and the direction we are taking,” said Duvenage. DM
"We are surrounded by story." ~ Alice McDermott