DA wants Mohlahlane far from funds

THE Democratic Alliance has raised a stink about the rehiring of former Land Bank acting chief executive Phil Mohlahlane.

THE Democratic Alliance has raised a stink about the rehiring of former Land Bank acting chief executive Phil Mohlahlane.

Last year Mohlahlane was fired by the Department of Agriculture and left the Land Bank after a forensic report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers uncovered gross irregularities involving a R100million Agri-BEE Fund under his control.

The fund was for projects approved by the Department of Agriculture.

The forensic investigation found that the money was used to finance lavish lifestyles for politically connected individuals.

Mohlahlane was recently appointed CEO of the Limpopo Agricultural Development Corporation, which will oversee the allocation of millions of rands' worth of project grants in the province.

The DA wants Minister of Agriculture Tina Joemat-Pettersson to explain to Parliament why Mohlahlane, dismissed over a corruption scandal, has been appointed to another senior post.

"The minister must explain exactly why Mohlahlane's shameful past conduct has been entirely ignored and why he is now to be trusted with any sort of responsibility where public funds are involved," DA MP Lourie Bosman said yesterday.

"What confidence can South Africans have in the efficient management of public funds when those who have abused them for their own purposes in the past suffer superficial penalties before being redeployed to continue their abuse in other powerful positions?"

Bosman said Mohlahlane's rehiring was an indication that "having the right political connections, unquestioningly serving a party (ANC) agenda and indeed 'sharing the wealth' with other political cronies is far more important to our national government than demonstrating an ability to serve the public with any sort of integrity."

Bosman is to ask the minister whether she believes those entrusted to manage public resources should be beyond reproach, and if so how she explains Mohlahlane's rehiring.

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