Now department tries to get back over R1m

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga education department has spent more than R1 million on unauthorised payments to dead and retired former employees.

The department said because of "weaknesses" in its administrative and salary systems, an over-payment of R1193 000 was made to officials or educators who had retired, been transferred to other provinces or departments, or had died.

The people to whom payments were made to which they were not entitled have been identified and the department is investigating ways of getting the money back.

over-payments were discovered during a verification process between July and August aimed at ensuring that all the personnel on the department's books existed and were employed by it, and that no fraudulent payments had been made.

Hlahla Ngwenya, the department's spokesman, said: "A team of 212 people - internal and external auditors, and specially trained personnel in the department - was assembled for the verification at a cost of over R1,4 million."

He said the team undertook its investigations in all regions of the province, but not in Bushbuckridge, which was not part of Mpumalanga at the time.

"[The names of] all officials and educators were verified and investigations were made into the identity of those who could not be verified," Ngwenya said.

He said the weaknesses in the administrative and salary systems that allowed the over-payments would be corrected, and systems would be introduced to ensure that similar errors would not be repeated.