HOD accused of stalling recovery of R25m

Khangale Makhado

Khangale Makhado

The Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport will institute a civil claim to recover more than R5,6million from a building company engaged during the ill-fated International Transport Conference in the province.

This came to light yesterday at a Scopa hearing, where head of department Mabel Makibelo and her team faced questions arising from the R25million conference .

Scopa yesterday lambasted Makibelo for stalling the process to recover the R25million.

Chairman Rudolf Phala warned her that unless the money was recovered by her department, his committee would be left with little option but to demand she repay the full amount as "she shall have failed in her duties to recover the amount".

After accusing the previous departmental head, Ben Mehale of "willfully and in a grossly negligent way" failing to comply with various sections of the Public Finance Management Act last year, Scopa had ordered he be fired with immediate effect.

Scopa also recommended Mehale be barred from holding any position within the provincial administration. The committee demanded that the "fruitless and wasteful" expenditure be recovered.

However, Mehale had already resigned from his position and was at the time of the Scopa resolution employed by the local airports company.

Makibelo said the construction company that would be sued for recovery of the R5,6million had initially been "assigned" the job of building a grandstand to seat about 15000 people during the ITC.

However, after only providing two water tanks and a borehole - something costing less than R200000 - the company had been paid R5,6million.

Makibelo assured the members of Scopa that every effort was being made to gather information to start the criminal and civil process to recover the millions. She said her department was working with police.