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'we won't pay back'

By Alfred Moselakgomo | Sep 29, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

STATE officials who made millions of rands doing businesses with the Mpumalanga government are refusing to pay back the money.

They believe the provincial financial watchdog is fighting a losing battle by ordering them to pay back the money.

"It's not like we stole the money. We declared our interest and got those contracts following the correct procedure," said an official who asked not to be named.

"All the money paid to us was for services rendered. So how can you expect me to pay back the money I received legitimately?

I think Fish Mahlalela is fighting a losing battle on this one."

Mahlalela, chairperson of the select committee on public accounts (Scopa), has instructed the provincial administration to charge officials who made money by doing business either with their own or other departments.

In all 573 officials are involved and the money involved in the contracts, awarded between April 1 2005 and March 31 2007, is R120million.

Mahlalela argues that small businesses don't stand a chance of getting business in competition with officials who have the advantage over them.

"Another thing is that they abuse state resources doing their private business," he said.

"So these jobs on the side must come to an end right now," said Mahlalela.

Scopa heard last week that one official in the education department gets about R300000 a month from a pupil transport contract.

The official, whose name has been withheld, gets R80000 a month for each of three buses that collect pupils and takes them to schools.

Zanele Shabangu and Sammy Mpatlanyane, communication officials in the department of arts, culture, sport and recreation, have been ordered to pay back R1,2 million.

The two say they will not do so because they had declared their interests.


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