Limpopo rot: 38 cases opened

2012-07-04 11:17

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has revealed that 38 criminal cases have opened against Limpopo government officials from four provincial departments that were placed under administration last year as a result of widespread allegations of corruption.

This was revealed in a reply to a parliamentary question from Cope’s Nick Koornhof today.

The Limpopo provincial government has come under severe criticism since various provincial departments accumulated unauthorised expenditure, which grew from R1.5 billion in 2009 to R2.7 billion last year, leaving the province in dire straits.

Gordhan revealed that police were now investigating the 38 cases – some of which involve corruption by Limpopo officials – in four departments.

He said that since the department sent a crack team of administrators to Limpopo, the administrators “did discover instances of transactions that were suspicious. These were mainly in the area of supply chain.”

Treasury had opened four cases against officials from the provincial department of public works, nine from the department of education, and six from the department of roads and administration.

Nineteen cases from the department of health and social development had been referred to the police for investigation so far.

“The extent of corruption of these transactions cannot be determined, as the investigations are yet to be concluded by the South African Police Service,” said Gordhan.

The rot within some of the Limpopo departments became apparent last year when the province asked Treasury for a R1 billion overdraft to pay the salaries of public servants, such as nurses and teachers.

It was revealed earlier this year that the province owed suppliers R138 million, but only R67 million of this amount could be verified as legitimate claims from suppliers.

It was also revealed that in the department of health, more than R400 million was spent on goods and services irregularly.

Another R427 million in assets that belonged to the state did not have supporting documents.

The department of education in the province, which has also suffered under the textbook scandal, was found to have breached supply chain management policies and had accumulated unauthorised expenditure of R2.2 billion and owed R190 million.

The department was also found to have employed 200 “ghost” teachers and had 2 400 “excess” teachers.

President Jacob Zuma’s government has also rejected claims by some officials in Limpopo that the use of section 100 of the Constitution, which gives power to the president to allow national departments to take over the administration of provincial departments, was a political decision aimed at dealing with Zuma’s political opponents in the province.

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