Former president Kgalema Motlanthe, a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, has taken over its running from CEO Sello Hatang and COO Limpho Monyamane.

The development follows two extraordinary board meetings held this week to discuss allegations against the two executives by internal whistle-blowers.

On Wednesday, Sunday Times Daily reported that board chair Prof Njabulo Ndebele had received a letter from foundation staff who said the environment had become toxic amid bullying, intimidation, procurement irregularities and misuse of corporate credit cards.

“At its last meeting the board received a request for leave of absence from CEO Sello Hatang and COO Limpho Monyamane motivated by their desire to ensure the sanctity of the board-driven investigation process,” said a foundation statement on Saturday.

“The board, in the best interests of all concerned, accepted the requests.

“This action of the board should in no way be interpreted as an indication that it has taken any view on the outcome of the investigation.”

Motlanthe will be assisted by two other trustees, attorney and social justice activist Alice Brown, and Maya Makanjee, who serves on several corporate boards.

“The interim leadership structure will oversee the foundation’s day-to-day activities and ensure its smooth running until the investigative process has been completed and the board has considered its findings,” said the statement.

“As the core custodian of Madiba’s legacy, the board is committed to ensuring good governance and ethical leadership in all the foundation’s activities.

“Over the years the governance system within the foundation has proved to be robust. Th