THE Limpopo legislature has ordered the department of economic development, environment and tourism to remove bid committee members and blacklist corrupt officials owning companies.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) told head of department Sam Thobakgale to remove members of the bid committee participating in the adjudication of the department tenders committee.

The committee suspected that members of the bid committee were colluding with other department officials to benefit from their own department contracts and disadvantage outside operators.

Committee chairperson Derrick Ngobeni told Thobakgale that tender committee members must be removed and new members appointed because of ongoing corruption by officials.

The department appeared before Scopa to answer partly for the R270million paid to government officials doing remunerative work with their employer without permission.

Ngobeni said officials who benefitted from the government contracts were not supposed to have benefitted because they were not granted permission to do business.

Thobakgale's explanation that some officials were granted permission to do business after submitting their declaration of interests, as guided by Public Service Act, was rejected.

The explanation did not please the committee and it advised Thobakgale to swear that he would remove tender committee members.

Ngobeni said the practice in the public service disadvantaged other businessmen.

The committee also said that Thobakgale could not give his department employees permission to do business. It added the permission could be granted by MEC Pitsi Moloto.

"There is a lack of effective mechanism and performance to prevent officials, but allowing officials to do business with their own department, what do you call that if not corruption, maladministration.," he said.

The auditor-general's report said economic development, tourism and environment officials illegally benefitted R6million from doing business with government departments.

Five companies that belong to department officials are likely to be blacklisted if Thobakgale acts on the Scopa instruction.

Ngobeni said a decision would be taken against heads of department found to have ignored the Public Finance Management Act by allowing officials to do business without permission.

Other departments that have appeared are education, legislature and the rest are yet to explain themselves before Scopa.