The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture allegedly wasted R120 500 211,69 starting from the 2008/09 financial year until the 2014/15 financial year.
This was revealed during a hearing of the Provincial Legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) for the department held last Tuesday and where MEC Onicca Moloi and her team had to account on irregular expenditure for the period in question.
This was the second time the department appeared before Scopa and Committee Chairperson Snowy Kennedy-Monyemoratho said Moloi had, during the first hearing, assured that she would come back with a case number to prove that cases had been opened against responsible personnel.
The first hearing in January had to be postponed due to the committee not being satisfied with the answers given by the department. Democratic Alliance (DA) Provincial Leader Jacques Smalle at the time reportedly said Moloi should take action against anyone responsible.
It was learnt that the department had not followed proper procurement processes when they hired an events promotion company that cost the department R3 million in the 2014/15 financial year. The department in its answers had said the case was in the process of being investigated and action would be taken against the officials found to have contravened procurement processes.
After a number of follow-up questions from the committee members, Kennedy-Monyemoratho said the department was contradicting itself. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Provincial Secretary Jossey Buthane said the department was not taking the committee serious. “We need the correct responses and one of the officials must account for whatever mess. Moloi’s answers belittle the committee’s thinking capacity and we cannot tolerate that. The money must be taken from the accused’s pension fund,” Buthane said.
Buthane further said Moloi should stop answering questions as if she was responding to a pastor in church. Kennedy-Monyemoratho also reminded Moloi that Scopa was not a church but a political institution hence she must learn to put her foot down.
Moloi answered by saying the department was taking the committee serious that is why they had been in and out of meetings trying to gather as much information as possible to help with the pending cases. She further said the department had written a letter to one of the accused. Chief Director for Cooperate Services of the department, Mabakane Mangena said they did not write to the pension fund because the investigation report was not yet available to give them direction. He further said the recommendations in the report would state whether the department should recover money from the accused and or specific actions that needed to be taken against them.
Contracts to the value of R1,2 million were awarded to various contractors for infrastructural projects. Scopa said the Independent Development Trust (IDT) had awarded tenders for infrastructural projects through incorrect threshold preferential procurement policy framework and the department’s response was that they were in a process of requesting for condemnation of the expenditure from treasury. Kennedy-Monyemoratho said the work of the head of department was not done properly and this cost the committee time. She said Scopa had spent hours trying to understand what Moloi was trying to say.
Story & photo: ENDY SENYATSI