R131?mln spent for ‘ghost’ projects

2013-10-23 00:00

AGRICULTURE and Environmental Affairs MEC Meshack Radebe has painted a depressing picture of his department.

Radebe and his officials revealed to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) — the KwaZulu-Natal legislature’s oversight body on public spending — that more than R131 million had been paid for non-existent projects.

He said several forensic investigations had been launched into companies that were irregularly awarded tenders with millions being spent.

Radebe listed examples of the irregularly awarded tenders to Scopa.

“You find there was a project of R47 million. You go there and you find nothing, but money has been spent,” he said.

“You [also] find a project of R84 million. You go there and find nothing,” Radebe said.

He said millions were spent on agricultural equipment in 2011 that was not used for years, referring to R5 million in equipment, seeds and fertiliser found rotting and rusting at department offices in Inchanga last December.

Radebe said he was committed to cleaning up corruption in the department in the remaining months before his term ended.

The auditor-general (A-G) gave the department an unqualified audit opinion with matters of emphasis for a fifth consecutive year. The A-G found tenders were awarded to some family members close to officials who never disclosed their business interests, as well as 14 officials who performed paid work outside their employment without approval.

Radebe said cases were due to be referred to law enforcement agencies.

Acting head of department Yasmin Bacus said the department was reviewing its policies on compliance and enforcement.

Scopa member Sipho Gcabashe of the ANC demanded action be taken against responsible officials.

Scopa chairman Sipho Nkosi said: “They must be tackled. If they have to be taken out of the system, the better for our people.”

Radebe promised to turn the department around, pointing out that he had been an MEC for hardly more than two years and that one MEC had at one stage organised a prayer service to ward off the department’s troubles.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.