Mpuma workers rake in tender millions

2011-12-04 18:47
Mbombela - Civil servants in Mpumalanga are still doing business with government, two years after departments were instructed to put an end to the practice.

The standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) revealed that 359 employees within the provincial government were still benefitting from government tenders amounting to millions of rands.

"This problem was identified two years ago and you [government officials] said it will stop, but it has not stopped,” said provincial Scopa chair Nomsa Mtsweni during a Scopa meeting in the provincial legislature in Mbombela on Friday.

Mtsweni said Scopa was not convinced that only 359 employees were benefitting from the government while drawing salaries each month.

She said 153 employees in the health and social development department were directors of companies that were doing business with government, while the education department had 135 employees doing business with government.

She said the employees in the health and social development department alone had benefitted from contracts amount to R6m.

Employees in the finance department had benefitted from contracts amounting to R2.7m.

She said other departments were yet to reveal how much their employees had made from the government.

Referee and player

Scopa member and ANC provincial chief whip Thandi Shongwe said the practice alienated aspiring entrepreneurs who had no access to income other than by doing business.

“You can’t be the referee and a player. Instead of delivering services to the people you are delivering services to yourselves.

"That is why we have these [service delivery] protests in Mpumalanga,” said Shongwe.

Mpumalanga Director General Jacob Rabodila admitted to Scopa that the practice should be stopped.

“These officials need to be disciplined,” said Rabodila.

Mtsweni was quick to point out that it was Rabodila and his team of head of departments who ultimately signed tender contracts and that they too were accountable.

Government departments have only finalised one disciplinary case since 2008 while the disciplinary cases of six officials in the Premier’s Office are still pending and 82 warning letters were issued.

Mtsweni has given departments three months to finalise action against officials and to recover the money spent.

Scopa member Fish Mahlalela, a former Scopa chairperson feared for his no-nonsense approach, said: “It is not that the matter is complex, it just requires the will to deal with it.”

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