R13m was spent on 'new staff'

THE Mpumalanga department of economic development and planning has incurred more than R13million in unauthorised expenditure.

But the department says this expenditure - R13,479000 - was a result of new staff being transferred from Limpopo to Mpumalanga. This emerged yesterday when the department appeared before the select committee on public accounts (Scopa).

Department head Mandla Mazibuko said in 2007 employees from Limpopo economic development, environment and tourism were transferred to Mpumalanga and this resulted in over spending on compensation of employees because there was no budget for new staff.

Most of these employees were stationed at the Manyeleti and Andover game reserves.

Mazibuko said the assets which were transferred from Limpopo were not transferred with supporting documents - as required - and as a result, the value of the capital assets worth R2,3million could not be verified.

The committee also heard that an amount of R397000 went to waste when former departmental MEC Craig Padayachee appointed consultants to conduct a feasibility study on soya beans but the study was never used.

"Again the department incurred a R51000 expense when Padayachee instructed a former head of department to appoint consultants to assist the chief finance officer in performing his duties," Mazibuko said.

"The consultants were never appointed and this resulted in us incurring R51000 (loss) for advertisements in newspapers."

Asked if any disciplinary action has been taken against officials who cost the taxpayers money, he said the officials were no longer with the department.