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It's payback time for senior officials

By unknown | Feb 28, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Senior government officials in Limpopo are being forced to pay back public funds that have been misused by their departments.

The latest to be fingered are senior officials in the department of sports, arts and culture, who have been ordered to pay back more than R450000 they spent on the 2002 Melting Pot Festival.

The non-nonsense standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) ruled on Monday that the department's officials, led by departmental head Deliwe Nyathikazi, should pay back the money after they failed to produce proof of authorisation to blow the money on the festival.

Scopa last year demanded that Ben Mehale, inset, the former head of the department of roads and transport, pay back R25,5million irregularly spent during an international transport convention in May 2005 or face criminal charges.

During a Scopa hearing in Polokwane on Monday, Nyathikazi and her team failed to produce documents to support the expenditure of R453134 paid to Greenfields, one of the companies that won a tender for the Melting Pot Festival.

Scopa chairman Rudolph Phala said the money "should be brought back because it is public funds".

"It is a shame that we still have officials who do not have knowledge of how government should be administered," Phala said.

He said it was Nyathikazi's duty to ensure that those who were involved in organising the festival were dealt with.

Patela Morare, the retired head of the department of sports, arts and culture, told Scopa that the movement of personnel had severely affected the running of the department.

Nyathikazi said an isolated room had been discovered in the department in which important documents were kept without a being properly filed.

Scopa ruled that action be taken against the officer responsible for the filing system.

It also said the awarding of performance bonuses to officials who worked in the department in 2002 should be investigated.


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