Balfour's wife: 'No protection'

2009-08-18 18:04

Cape Town - There are no reasons to protect the wife of former correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour from a prison housing scandal, Parliament's correctional services committee heard on Tuesday.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said there was no "cover up" or attempt to "protect" Tozama Mqobi-Balfour.

"There are no reasons to want to do that," she said.

Mqobi-Balfour, a regional commissioner for correctional services in Gauteng, is accused of misusing public money to pay for a R30 000 a month house in the upmarket Woodhill golf estate in Pretoria East.

Due process

Mapisa-Nqakula said she had a received a report on the housing scandal, but that no action could be taken "until due processes had been followed".

"We do have findings and recommendations. But having a report is not enough to determine if a person is guilty or not. We have to follow due process."

She said the report, which is with the public service and administration minister, was "not favourable" to correctional services national commissioner Xoliswa Sibeko.

Sibeko is also alleged to have been renting a house in the Woodhill estate for R35 000 a month.

He has been placed on "cautionary suspension" together with acting chief financial officer Nandi Mareka.

Finalise matter

"The report is not favourable to the national commissioner," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

"I will leave it at that."

Both Mqobi-Balfour and Sibeko were renting homes while their official residences remained empty. They had since been ordered to vacate the rented houses.

Mqobi-Balfour was Balfour's legal adviser before she was promoted, about a year before their wedding.

Committee chairperson Vincent Smith said: "We are very eager that this matter gets finalised. We have a situation where the department continues to be leaderless. We want stability in the department."

Mapisa-Nqakula said she hoped to have the matter finalised by the end of August.