Protector probes tourism dept spending

By Drum Digital
07 April 2013

Public protector Thuli Madonsela's office is investigating allegations of financial mismanagement in the national tourism department, the Sunday Independent reported.

Madonsela's spokesman Oupa Segale confirmed to the newspaper that an investigation was underway but said it had been delayed after an investigator working on the case resigned.

"It was then re-allocated to another investigator who also had a lot of other matters on his plate."

Madonsela's office began the investigation after receiving a letter in March last year by Nthabeleng Chokoe, the chairman of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).

In the letter he made claims about "unnecessary" expenditures taking place at the department.

This included the purchase of certain IT equipment, appliances and furniture, including the alleged purchase of couches which were then stored in kitchens, the acquisition of two Audi cars, as well as the installation of cow head sculptures and expensive paintings.

The tourism department's director-general Kingley Makhubela told the Sunday Independent that the department had been found in the clear by the auditor general and that the allegations of financial mismanagement came from bitter union members.

He refuted a number of the claims, for example stating the Audis actually reduced costs for the department and that the couches found in the kitchens were not being stored.

Rather, kitchens had been turned into "pause areas" where staff could relax and eat during breaks.

The artwork was chosen by a decorating team, explained Makhubela.

-by Sapa

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