Official cleared of graft rap
Former head of the Limpopo department of Sports, Arts and Culture Jacob Rapholo must be sighing with relief after 29 charges of corruption against him were withdrawn by the Labour Court in Limpopo yesterday.
He was exonerated from any wrongdoing including the charge of overspending more than R2million in the Mapungubwe Arts Festival.
However, the court did not immediately release the reasons for its decision.
Rapholo, 47, currently works as general manager for traditional affairs in Premier Sello Moloto's office.
A forensic audit had uncovered financial irregularities in the manner in which funds were handled by the department during the Melting Pot Festival in 2002.
It was discovered that tenders had been awarded improperly, without following procedures, and that there was no supporting documentation for some of the funds that had been spent.
Rapholo, who was the department's accounting officer at the time, was fingered in the case of the unauthorised expenditure.
Among other charges, Rapholo was found to have allowed overspending of more than R2million in the Mapungubwe Arts Festival.
Sowetan efforts to get comment from Rapholo yesterday were fruitless.
His lawyer Kgao Mahlase, a well-known labour law expert in the province, said he was relieved that his client was off the hook.
"These people - the department - had no jurisdiction to charge my client in the first place," said Mahlase.
He said the department was wrong in accusing Rapholo of things that had happened a long time ago.
"It is clear that there was no employer-employee relationship between the two parties, hence they brought the charges against Rapholo.
"But I'm happy the matter is now water under the bridge."
Mahlase said, however, he was going to challenge the department to pay the costs incurred in the matter, failing which he would go back to court.