Agriculture MEC Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana says the Democratic Alliance (DA) should leave the African National Congress (ANC)-led government alone and rather deal with Helen Zille. She said this after the DA reported her to the Public Service Commission to probe her conduct after she reshuffled employees in her department last Friday.
She further said the DA must have proof of what they are talking about before they spread lies. She added “Who said I did not contact anyone in my department? What I do in the department is to ensure that everything is in order. The DA came with a request that I should take action against anyone responsible for the R24 million irregular expenditure in the department. But now they talk nonsense.”
Departmental Spokesperson Joel Seabi said the irregular expenditure is for the 2015/16 financial year.
A press release issued by the DA quoted Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle to have said Mokaba-Phukwana reshuffled employees in order to pave way for her cronies, without following the correct procedures.
“The DA can confirm that Mokaba-Phukwana summoned staff members linked to procurement last Friday to reshuffle and deploy them in other sections within the department. The MEC made these pronouncements in the absence of the Human Resource Manager or the Head of the Department (HOD). It is alleged that she did not even allow any questions from the employees and further instructed the Human Resources (HR) department to write letters to confirm their redeployment, without their input,” the statement read.
Smalle said Mokaba-Phukwana used similar unilateral tactics when she was the MEC for Transport where the Public Protector recently found her to have allocated tenders irregularly to her pals.
Smalle added that Mokaba-Phukwana reportedly unlawfully appointed a forensic firm known as MPA Investigation Team, without complying with the regulatory requirements. The Public Protector discovered that Mokaba-Phukwana did not have the legal authority to award a contract to the company, since that authority vests with the HOD as the accounting officer in terms of Section 38 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Mokaba-Phukwana violated her oath of office in the Legislature as well as Section 38 of the PFMA.
“The DA still reiterates the call that Mokaba-Phukwana should be fired with immediate effect to ensure that her cronies do not get a chance to infiltrate the department to loot the public coffers,” Smalle reportedly said.
Mokaba-Phukwana said the reshuffling was not only to deal with people who are responsible for the irregular expenditure but also to expose employees to new challenges. She further said the South African Constitution says people in the HR, supply chain and finance departments must rotate to avoid corruption. She said corruption starts when people in finance and supply chain keep their positions for long that is why MECs are encouraged to rotate employees to various positions.
In conclusion she said: “The DA must help me deal with the R1 million tender that was authorised by someone who does not have the power to do so.”
Story: ENDY SENYATSI