Statement from the Board of Trustees

As you may be aware Ms Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge has resigned from her position as Executive Director of Inyathelo with immediate effect. This took place on 14 March 2016.

Statement from the Board of Trustees

The Board had convened a disciplinary hearing into allegations of serious misconduct against Ms Madlala-Routledge. Rather than hold herself accountable to the Board and answer the allegations of serious misconduct Ms Madlala-Routledge decided to resign with immediate effect.  It is important to note that the Board of Trustees volunteer their time and receive no remuneration for the execution of their duties.  The Board therefore has no vested interest in allegedly “building a case” against Ms Madlala-Routledge.  Rather, the Board is obliged to act within the best interests of Inyathelo and to hold senior employees to account.  The Board is ultimately responsible for the governance of Inyathelo, and it is with this fiduciary duty in mind that the Board took the decision to conduct an investigation and to commence disciplinary proceedings against Ms Madlala-Routledge.  

It has come to the attention of the Board that Ms Madlala-Routledge has made a number of public statements concerning Inyathelo and the Board. These statements include that a vendetta had been waged against her, that the board offered her a settlement, that the Board and the attorneys instructed by it built a case against her to have her dismissed, that crucial documents were withheld from her, and that she was subjected to insulting, bullying and grossly unjust treatment.  

Sadly, and to the knowledge of Ms Madlala-Routledge the facts in this matter and Ms Madlala-Routledge’s own conduct do not support her claims.  The Board has no option but to respond to her unfounded and unwarranted accusations against Inyathelo. 

Serious concerns as to the conduct of Ms Madlala-Routledge were raised with the Board in October 2015, just four months into her tenure at Inyathelo. Ms Madlala-Routledge was furnished with those concerns in writing and provided with an opportunity to comment on those concerns. Ms Madlala-Routledge elected to comment and did so in detail. Having received the comment the Board of Trustees decided that it was appropriate to conduct an investigation so as to determine whether there was any support for these serious concerns and if so whether there was any basis for the Board to convene a disciplinary hearing. The Board did not, on the basis of the many concerns brought to its attention at that stage, decide to hold a disciplinary hearing. In fairness to Ms Madlala-Routledge the Board decided to conduct an investigation. 

Following the investigation the Board learned that there was indeed serious cause for concern and that some of the allegations made might well constitute misconduct. During the course of the investigation Ms Madlala-Routledge was afforded every reasonable opportunity to answer various factual claims against her and concerns raised with the Board. During that process Ms Madlala-Routledge was assisted by a legal representative. In the circumstances there can be no basis for Ms Madlala-Routledge’s outlandish claims as to a vendetta or that she has been subjected to insulting, bullying and grossly unjust treatment. 

The allegations of serious misconduct included various unilateral decisions made by Ms Madlala-Routledge without consultation with the directors of Inyathelo, unauthorised expenditure, failure to disclose key information to the Board and to the directors in relation to her decisions, potential compromising conflict of interest, failure to comply with internal policies and serious budgetary concerns.  To date, Ms Madlala-Routledge has failed to account for the allegations of serious misconduct and rather has chosen to deflect to the agreed exit of Ms Shelagh Gastrow, the former executive director of Inyathelo. It is important to note that the allegations of serious misconduct are not linked to Ms Shelagh Gastrow in any way. Those claims are a “red herring” and rather relate to Ms Madlala-Routledge’s conduct during her very short tenure as the executive director of Inyathelo. 

These allegations of serious misconduct are supported by documentary evidence, including documents generated by Ms Madlala-Routledge herself, and oral evidence that witnesses would give at the disciplinary hearing. This too is known to Ms Madlala-Routledge.  In the circumstances there is simply no basis for Ms Madlala-Routledge’s claim that the Board had “built a case against her.”

To the extent that Ms Madlala-Routledge claims that the Board acted in an unfair manner in declining her request to pay for her legal representation during the disciplinary enquiry, such decision was justified.  The Board was not required to pay for Ms Madlala-Routledge’s legal counsel and has not done so for any employee of Inyathelo.  To do so would have been highly irregular.  Ms Madlala-Routledge of her own volition, requested legal representation which was agreed to and she elected not to be legally represented at the disciplinary enquiry.  The independent chairperson of the disciplinary enquiry found that Ms Madlala-Routledge could not compel the Board to pay for her legal fees and further could not compel Inyathelo not to have its own legal representation at the disciplinary enquiry. 

Ms Madlala-Routledge was not offered a settlement amount as a form of “hush money” as alleged.  Rather, the Board was contractually obliged to offer 2 months’ notice pay in the event that Ms Madlala-Routledge resign on two months’ notice as per her employment contract.  Instead, Ms Madlala-Routledge resigned with immediate effect and the Board was therefore not contractually obliged to pay her two months’ salary. 

The board rejects the attempt by Ms Madlala–Routledge to paint the process as one which deliberately sought to victimise her and then settle with her. The fact of the matter is that Ms Madlala-Routledge has refused to be held accountable for her conduct and the Board doubts that Ms Madlala-Routledge will subject herself to a process which will ensure that the evidence relating to the serious allegations of misconduct is placed in the public domain.  Ms Madlala-Routledge has opted for the easier route of defaming the Board of Trustees, senior employees of Inyathelo and the former Executive Director rather than deal with the facts of misconduct. The Board is confident that all stakeholders who have had a longstanding engagement with Inyathelo will see through Ms Madlala-Routledge’s unfortunate attempt to demonise the reputation of Inyathelo. 

Board Of Trustees 

18 March 2016