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Johannesburg Roads Agency CEO Tshepo Mahanuke placed on special leave pending ‘re-authentication’ of credentials

Johannesburg Roads Agency CEO Tshepo Mahanuke placed on special leave pending ‘re-authentication’ of credentials
Johannesburg Roads Agency CEO Tshepo Mahanuke. (Photo: Supplied)

A Daily Maverick report spotlighting the questionable credentials of Johannesburg Roads Agency CEO Tshepo Mahanuke has fuelled calls for an investigation. On Thursday, the JRA announced his placement on special leave pending the outcome of a ‘re-authentication’ process.

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) announced on Thursday that its CEO, Tshepo Mahanuke, had been placed on special leave. An interim CEO has been appointed pending the outcome of a “re-authentication” process regarding Mahanuke’s credentials.

The JRA’s decision to place Mahanuke on leave follows a recent report by Daily Maverick’s Ferial Haffajee exposing the 34-year-old CEO’s questionable qualifications. The report alleged that the credentials he provided to land his R3.5-million-a-year job were either lies or overstated.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Joburg Roads Agency boss bought a doctorate and claimed a Harvard Business School master’s degree that doesn’t exist

“The board convened a special meeting to consider the issues pertaining to the allegations around the credentials of the CEO, Mr Tshepo Mahanuke. The resolution reached was to place the CEO on special leave, effective immediately, until the outcome of the re-authentication process is finalised,” said Thabo Motloung, the chairperson of the JRA board.

The process of authenticating Mahanuke’s credentials is expected to conclude on 30 November.

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“This was deemed the most appropriate direction to take in order to allow for a fair process to be conducted by an independent firm,” said Motloung.

According to the Daily Maverick report about Mahanuke, the claims made in his CV are overblown. The issues identified included:

  • The December 2019 honorary doctorate that he received from the Trinity International University of Ambassadors — a poorly ranked evangelical Christian university in the United States — can be bought for a small “support honorarium”;
  • The master’s degree in “Competitive Intelligence” from ACI College, Harvard Business School, that he claims to have in his CV is not offered by Harvard, while ACI (Academy for Competitive Intelligence) is in fact a separate college; and
  • He claims to have an undergraduate engineering degree from the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in his CV when actually he received a diploma for a course to become an engineering technician.

On Monday, 14 November — a day after the Daily Maverick report was published — Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse called for an investigation into the allegations against Mahanuke, according to News24. She further requested a full report on the matter from Motloung and Funzela Ngobeni, the Joburg mayoral committee member for transport.

Ngobeni released a statement the same day, emphasising that he took the allegations against Mahanuke seriously.

“The allegations have the potential to sully the good work done thus far to bring stability to an organisation that, in recent times, has not lived up to the responsibility for which it was created,” he said.

Ngobeni said the qualifications that informed Mahanuke’s appointment to the JRA board had been verified and included:

  • A national diploma in mechanical engineering from VUT; and
  • A BTech in operations management from VUT.

“The [JRA] board has promised to undertake an independent verification process to test Mr Mahanuke’s bona fides, in light of the public’s concerns arising from media reports,” he said.

On Thursday, the JRA board requested patience while the investigation into Mahanuke’s qualifications unfolded.

“We appreciate the orderly manner in which the JRA employees have diligently continued with their daily tasks in order to provide services to the city’s residents,” said Motloung.

“We request to be given the time and opportunity to see the process through … the outcomes will be communicated.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Patrick O'Shea says:

    Doctor Pothole.

  • Tony Reilly says:

    Well done DM……….next challenge – Expose the muppets who appointed this fraudster !

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    I suppose he insisted on being addressed as Doctor. That’s aleays the first sign.

  • Richard Baker says:

    Wonder if he can read a tape-measure? He would be a shoe-in at Prasa!

  • Louis Potgieter says:

    The academic requirements for the R3,5M salary were actually quite generous, and in a sense a misdirection. The real test should then have been job experience and track record of the young person. What convinced them here, and who decided?

  • Geoff Woodruff says:

    Special leave. That means we’re still paying this fraudster’s salary.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    I’d day Doctor Pothole needs charges brought against him if I thought the court could retrieve his salary, but such a notion requires effective policing and courts process, and they are as dysfunctional as the govt. Viva, ANC, Viva.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Special leave is precisely that and it carries on for years, fleecing the tax payer at infinitum. Cadre and connected elite deployment – brought to us by the ANC. Remember that drunken judge who crashed his vehicle into a wall! There are so many others and the long- suffering and highly abused tax payer is expected and forced to pay. When questioned, the modus operandi is to play the race card and declare a conspiracy. Like what happened to that buffoon from Prasa who bought the wrong locomotives. He was touted as the next best thing to sliced bread ie educated, talented, BEE credentials etc. Even Mantashe sang his praises and anyone who questioned the appointment on what experience he had was branded a racist. Cry the beloved country with these morons and incompetents at the helm.

  • Notinmyname Fang says:

    DM please request the CVs and qualifications of every board member
    There are more clowns involved here and this has to stop
    The Chair of the board must be held to account

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    I hope that’s leave as in bye bye

  • mike muller says:

    Two key pieces of information are missing from this story which is about gross mismanagement by the DA and Action SA.

    First, Mahanuke was approved by Funzela Ngobeni, an Action SA (Herman Mashaba) nominee to the position of Johannesburg’s MMC:Transport presumably acting on the advice of the Chair of the JRA, Thabo Motloung (who was appointed by Mashaba to the Board of JOSHCO, another Joburg entity, back in 2018).

    Second, the appointment was apparently not questioned by the DA ‘s Mayor, Mpho Phalatse in whose administration Ngobeni served.

    This does not speak well to the quality of those two political parties – it should not have taken more than a minute for any qualified HR practitioner (or engineer) to see that the qualifications claimed by Mahanuke were effectively bogus.

    Since the administrative rot is clearly widespread, the heads of the MMC, the JRA chair and the HR officials who signed off on the appointment should roll.

    But the lesson is that we cannot trust political representatives of ANY political parties to exercise good judgement. This kind of appointment should handled outside the political framework – and the DA and Action SA should support and implement the approach that the ANC is now proposing to remove National and Provincial level public service appointments from political discretion.

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