Six officials dismissed over R100m graft

SIX officials from the Mpumalanga agriculture department have been fired after an investigation found that they had connived with service providers to defraud the state through shady deals.

Over the last few days Sowetan has reported how more than R100million, earmarked for food production and supporting emerging farmers, was squandered.

An investigation by Grant Thornton Business Risk Services found that top officials in the department connived with officials from parastatals and irregularly awarded multi-million rand tenders.

The fired officials are Dendricks Mogora, Lebogang Motau, Musa Hlongwane, Muguni Mathebula, Foster Mayisane, and Skhumbuzo Nyambi.

Departmental head Nelisiwe Sithole has confirmed that the six had been fired for mismanagement.

"We have also laid criminal charges against the six and the service providers they colluded with," Sithole said.

Investigators say one of the projects that failed to take off was Masibuyele Emasimini programme.

Despite the government setting aside R96,6million for the project, rural communities are yet to benefit from it.

Sowetan yesterday visited Tshwaranang Secondary Cooperative in the Dr JS Moroka municipality and found 21 tractors donated by President Zuma lying idle in a storeroom in Matimpule.