MINISTER Lulu Xingwana is finaly taking action against officials at her Department of Arts and Culture, where millions in public funds are alleged to have been lost due to corruption or the incompetence of officials.
In the latest move, Xingwana has announced the dismissal of Tale Motsepe and M Madlavu, and the suspension of eight other high- ranking officials who are now facing disciplinary action in connection with various improprieties.
Several other officials, who were found guilty of having fraudulent qualifications, have also been dismissed, according to sources in the department.
Insiders say the department has lost close to R100million as a result of corruption.
Following her assumption of office, Xingwana examined the reports of the department's internal audit and of Gobodo Forensic Services and was shocked to find allegations of serious irregularities and possible fraud and corruption.
"The department confirms that the former chief director: coordination and then acting chief operations officer M Madlavu was dismissed after being found guilty on charges relating to non-disclosure of previous convictions in his official forms as well as a charge of providing false information to Scopa," Xingwana said.
"The department also confirms that former chief director: cultural development Tale Motsepe was dismissed after being found guilty of charges of serious misconduct relating to conflict of interest and non-disclosure of his financial interest in a close corporation."
The department is pursuing both criminal and civil action against Motsepe for the recovery of R287000.
The department has also confirmed the continued suspension of deputy director-general for arts and culture Sydney Selepe as well as his deputy director-general T Mdlela based on allegations of financial misconduct. The disciplinary process against the two officials is under way.
"The possible financial loss identified in the Gobodo report as a result of the alleged misconduct of Selepe is about R17million," the minister said.
Those who have been placed on suspension are: F Dilika, L Ndebele-Koka, A Obelholzer, S Ndlovu, Collen Hlatshwayo, S Mabunda, M Matyila and K Machaba.
"The disciplinary processes against these officials are also under way. The financial loss identified in the Pricewaterhouse Coopers report as a result of alleged misconduct in respect of Dr Dilika and Ms Mbangela is about R15million," Xingwana revealed.
"The financial loss identified in the PWC report in respect of Ms Ndebele-Koka, Mr Mabunda and in respect of Mr Hlatshwayo is about R10million. All of these occurred during the 2008-2009 financial year.
"We are also investigating the awarding of a R51million contract to a company in 2007, which the auditor-general has deemed irregular expenditure."