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Left: Former Transport, Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana. Right: Hanli du Plessis.

MEC, HOD ordered to pay back the money

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Former Transport, Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana and the Head of Department, Hanli du Plessis were ordered by Premier Stan Mathabatha to respectively repay the amounts of R1 638 728,00 and R1 154 432,00 within 14 days of receipt of notification.
The duo allegedly paid MPA Investigators two years ago to conduct investigations into irregularities in the department. In 2015 the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) opened a case of fraud and corruption against the two at the Polokwane Police’s Commercial Crime Unit.
A press release issued on Tuesday quoted Mathabatha to have said that a complaint against Mokaba-Phukwana and Du Plessis was registered with the Office of the Public Protector about two years ago.
He was further quoted stating that the complaint had been that the appointment of MPA Investigators to conduct investigations on irregularities in the department was in itself irregular and done in violation of the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Executive Members Ethics Act.
“Following a lengthy investigation, the Public Protector found against both the MEC and the HOD and ordered that action be taken against the two. The Public Protector further recommended that Members of the Executive Council (MECs) be inducted in the ethos of good governance and ethical leadership,” the statement read.
It further stated that the Office of the Public Protector had recommended that both parties be subjected to disciplinary action where he reprimanded Mokaba-Phukwana and gave Du Plessis a final written warning after considering their representations.
“Further to this, I have demanded that both parties repay the exact amount of irregular expenditure as determined by both the National and Provincial Treasury.
Mathabatha further said consistent with the Public Protector’s recommendations, Members of the Provincial Executive have already been subjected to a workshop presented by the National Treasury on the subject of good governance and ethical leadership.
“We appreciate the work of the Public Protector and we will continue working with her office and other state institutions to ensure good governance and accountable administration,” Mathabatha was quoted.
Office of the Premier Spokesperson Kenny Mathivha emphasised that the duo received notices on 28 April and they are expected to repay the money before or by 19 May. Mokaba-Phukwana said she did not want to comment on the matter and referred Polokwane Observer to the office of the state attorney.
Department of Transport Spokesperson Joshua Kwapa said Du Plessis has approached the state attorney to look into the possibility of taking the Public Protector’s report on review.
EFF Provincial Secretary Jossey Buthane could not comment on the matter at the time of going to print as he outlined that the party still has to study the report and the order issued by Mathabatha in order to give a relevant comment.
The office of the State Attorney was not available for comment at the time.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za