Department of Education officials had members of the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) furious during a public hearing on Tuesday when they failed to give adequate answers relating to taxpayers’ money spent on various projects.
The department appeared before the committee but they were sent back to go and rectify their answers. The session started with disputes as the department provided members of the committee with documents that were not signed by MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe and he was requested to apologise.
Arguments ensued again as the department could not provide a forensic report as requested by the committee and the department, in their written response indicated: “The report will be shared with the house together with the outcome and or progress on implementation of the internal process to take the recommendation of the forensic investigation within three months, which is January 2018. The investigation report cannot be shared at this stage.”
Committee member Elias Nong stressed that when public money is involved, there is no such thing as confidential information. He further said the department should provide a complete forensic report containing names of officials who should be held accountable.
Scopa Chairperson, Snowy Kennedy-Monyemoratho said in an interview with Polokwane Observer yesterday (Wednesday) morning that officials take advantage of the fact that they can resign after making a mess and no steps will be taken against them.
She further said the department was sent back with costs, meaning they have to find sponsors to settle catering and recording bills for the public hearing.
According to Kennedy-Monyemoratho, the department in the previous financial year, transferred R110 million to the Department of Health because they could not use it and yet there are school infrastructure backlogs. “Departmental heads are getting paid a lot of money but are too lazy to do the work. Instead they hire agencies which cost a lot of money. We concluded the hearing on question four because the committee was unhappy with the answers provided and the fact that the department had failed to provide a forensic report,” she explained and added that the department will appear again soon because the committee doesn’t want a public hearing backlog.
Story & photo: ENDY SENYATSI