SA Tourism withdraws Ndlovu from her acting CEO role following investigation of bribery allegations

Published Sep 9, 2023


South African Tourism (SA Tourism) on Friday informed its employees that it had withdrawn Nomasonto Ndlovu from her current acting role as CEO.

In an email signed by SA Tourism board chairperson Tim Harris, addressed to staff, he said the board resolved to withdraw Ndlovu's appointment as acting CEO, and she would revert to her position as chief operations officer for the entity.

This comes after a whistle-blower called the SA Tourism hotline to report that Ndlovu had allegedly accepted a R100 000 bribe from Qatar Airlines for flights in business class, accommodation, and World Cup tickets.

According to the caller, the alleged incident happened on December 6 and 7, 2022.

According to Harris, following media reports and allegations made against Ndlovu regarding the alleged bribe, an initial inquiry was conducted and the board made the decision to retain Ndlovu in her position subject to the completion of an investigation that had been initiated through an internal audit prior to the board's term of office.

“The investigation by an outsourced forensic investigator was to determine whether all internal policies, as well as prescriptions of the Public Finance Management Act, had been followed,” he said.

Harris said the board has received and deliberated on the investigator’s report that recommended “appropriate remedial action is initiated” relating to the conduct of three individuals, including Ndlovu.

“The board resolved to accept the report’s recommendations and delegate them to the human capital and remuneration committee of the board for implementation and resolved to withdraw Ndlovu’s appointment as acting CEO. She reverts to her position as chief operations officer for the entity.

"We have requested the current chief operating officer, Nombulelo Guliwe, to fulfil the acting role as chief executive officer while the recruitment of a full-time CEO is ongoing.“

He said Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille’s concurrence has been received in this regard.

Harris said a briefing meeting for staff on this matter would be arranged for Monday.

Ndlovu was appointed to replace SA Tourism’s former acting CEO, Themba Khumalo, who had resigned as SA Tourism chief marketing officer and acting CEO.

Khumalo's resignation came at the back of the organisation being thrust in the spotlight over a R1 billion sponsorship deal with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, which was slammed by the public in February.