Head of treasury gets the first degree

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

There are mixed feelings about the appointment of Rob Tooley as head of Limpopo's Department of Treasury.

Tooley, 47, was appointed to the position with effect from March 1. Before his appointment he was a member of the Limpopo provincial legislature, where he had served in various portfolio committees since 1994.

The most recent was when he played an active role in probing and uncovering high-level irregularities in the International Transport Convention, which resulted in the government demanding the return of R25,5million from disgraced Ben Mehale.

Tooley was a key figure on the standing committee for public accounts that grilled senior government officials who failed to account for their use of public money.

His vacant position as a member of the provincial legislature has been filled by Norman Mashabane, former South African ambassador to Indonesia.

Mike Holford, leader of the DA, the official opposition in the provincial legislature, said yesterday that Tooley did not possess the relevant qualifications and experience to lead the Finance Department.

"Tooley is more of a politician than an administrator," said Holford.

"The problem is that because of comradeship we end up deploying people with irrelevant knowledge in senior government positions, thus sidelining highly skilled people. This practice does not augur well for the smooth-running of the government," he said.

United Independent Front's leader Ike Kekana said: "I want to congratulate Premier Sello Moloto for appointing Tooley. He brings with him a wealth of experience having worked with public finances for a while. He is a perfect choice for the job."

Premiers, as political heads of provinces, are responsible for appointing departmental heads.

"For the first time since the new dispensation, the treasury will be professionally administered," Kekana said.

Approached for comment, Tooley said the ANC would not have placed him in the position if he did not have a proven track record in dealing with public finances.