Mansion: Prison boss suspended

2010-01-12 15:22

Cape Town - Correctional services regional commissioner for Gauteng, Thozama Mqobi-Balfour, has been suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary process for renting a lavish home with taxpayers' money, the department said on Tuesday.

Departmental spokesperson Manelisi Wolela said the decision to suspend her, which came into effect on Monday, was taken after the department received the findings of an investigation into the matter last month.

He said the suspension related to "among others, the procurement of rented accommodation" but declined to elaborate.

The wife of former correctional services minister Ngconde Balfour was reported to have rented a house in the Woodhill golf estate in Pretoria for some R30 000 a month despite having the use of an official residence.


She was reportedly also named by Auditor-General Terence Nombembe as one of 49 government officials who benefited from government contracts worth R74m.

A report he handed to Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) almost a year ago is said to have noted that business worth more than R1m was awarded to four companies belonging to correctional services officials.

The Democratic Alliance said it was "unacceptable" that the department had not given the full reasons for the commissioner's suspension and called for the matter to be finalised as soon as possible.

DA spokesperson James Selfe pointed out that the cash-strapped department had for the past six months been paying the full salary of suspended national commissioner Xoliswa Sibeko, who was also implicated in the housing scandal.

She ran into trouble for renting a home in the same golf estate for R35 000 a month.