Saxen Van Coller, CEO of the Dube TradePort Corporation (DPTC), the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government’s flagship development project, has been sacked for not disclosing a criminal record prior to her appointment to this high profile position.

The DPTC announced that she had been dismissed this week (June 27) in a terse statement: “The disciplinary process found that Ms Van Coller, (amongst other necessary disclosures), failed to disclose previous criminal offences and a previous criminal conviction prior to being appointed for the position of CEO. The Board agreed that this was sufficient grounds for dismissal and has informed Ms Van Coller – who had been suspended since the investigation commenced in March 2015 – of its decision.”

Van Coller was suspended pending disciplinary action in February 2015 after press reports emerged suggesting that she had claimed to have false qualifications including a BA, MBA and a doctorate.

It seems that she has allegedly conned a number of employers including billionaire Anton Rupert, and various sporting bodies into employing her in high profile positions.

She was apparently born Yvette Coetzee in Rustenburg in the North West province but changed her name in 2003.

In its statement, the Board said that it viewed Van Coller’s non-disclosure in a very serious light. “Ms Van Coller’s failure to disclose her criminal record prior to employment at DTPC is not only a serious misrepresentation, but also directly undermines the Corporation’s commitment to good corporate governance and integrity. The Board felt strongly that such conduct completely undermines the ethical code and value system of the Dube TradePort Corporation and it cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.”

However, on the DubeTradePort website, Van Coller is still quoted saying: “Vital for a successful and sustainable public-private partnership venture are sound business principles, good corporate governance, water-tight procurement processes and clean audits.”

She was appointed CEO in March 2013 with the Board declaring that her strength was her ability to turn around struggling businesses and to take thriving ones to new levels of success. She apparently had a talent for bringing together operations, strategy and people.

However, a breakdown in relations with the Dube TradePort staff is believed to have pre-empted the discovery of her falsely declared qualifications.

The Board has laid charges against Van Coller and says it is “exploring the possibility of recourse that can best be determined legally”.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual at the Dube TradePort. Acting CEO, Hamish Erskine, who has been a member of the DTPC team since its formation in 2003, will continue to lead the organisation and has the unenviable task of reassuring stakeholders and potential investors that all is well.

“The organization continues to go from strength to strength and has recently made exciting announcements regarding the development and there are many more in the pipeline. We can assure all our stakeholders that our focus as an organization is firmly on delivering our mandate and ensuring that Dube TradePort remains the flagship development project of the KZN provincial government… At no point did any of our stakeholders feel that the organizational focus on delivering on our mandate was compromised. We would like to continue doing our best to move your business forward,” the Board statement said.