It has come to our attention in recent weeks that disgruntled former employees and former directors of OUTA have embarked on a smear campaign to discredit the organisation and in particular its CEO.
We are an accountable organisation and believe in good governance.
While past directors are entitled to their opinions, we note that they made no formal complaints of their claims to the OUTA board during any meetings, nor did they make any complaints to law enforcement or professional bodies. The allegations refer to a period many months ago but were not raised then.
The expenses these former directors now query relate to a legitimate, united civil society campaign against Jacob Zuma’s corruption and were in line with OUTA’s mandate and the management’s limits of authority and approval processes.
OUTA has been through a period of tremendous change over the past three years, which some former employees and directors may have found difficult. Not only did the organisation grow from a staff of three to over 40 staff, but it also expanded its mandate from focusing only on opposition to e-tolls to tackling the most powerful people in the country over organised corruption.
“The governance journey of any organisation and certainly at OUTA, is fluid and ever improving,” says Ferrial Adam, OUTA’s Chairperson. “Rapid growth over a two-year period required strong and decisive leadership, because we were dealing with our supporters’ donations and taking on serious matters against corruption in government.”
Adams added that “in times like this for any organisation, the CEO needs to take tough decisions, which does not always suit everyone. OUTA is no exception to these challenges and some people who couldn’t accept the necessary changes or transformation, perceived this as autocratic while we saw it as visionary and necessary.”
Some directors left of their own accord. One was dismissed in 2017 on serious grounds including misrepresentation of qualifications and serious misconduct.
OUTA’s journey has included developing and refining its governance processes. While we are not legally required to comply with King IV, earlier this year the board agreed to achieve as many of the King IV Codes of Good Governance as possible going forward. In 2017, OUTA conducted an independent assessment of its governance levels and the board are using this to address any gaps.
OUTA’s board meets King IV compliance standards. It has moved from a board of five white male executive directors in January 2016, to eight directors — four executive directors and four non-executive directors — with the Chairperson’s role filled by a non-executive director. The board has 50% women and only 38% white directors.
“I believe we have become a leading civil intervention organisation because of the people who stood by OUTA and its management team. We are proud of our achievements and the diversity, expertise and competency of our board and the entire team,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO. “We have a lot of work to do in fighting corruption and maladministration in South Africa and we thank the many thousands of supporters for their support and contribution to the excellent work being done by our highly energised and competent team of professionals and experts.”
The OUTA Board and management team have no problem with being challenged or held to account for adhering to good governance.