Officials suspended over irregular payments

2012-09-13 21:01

Bloemfontein - Three more senior provincial officials have been suspended after irregular payments to housing contractors, Free State Human Settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli said on Thursday.

"The payments relate to incomplete projects," said Mlamleli.

This brings to nine the number of senior officials suspended in the provincial department.

The department announced in July it would investigate various alleged irregularities in the department.

Soon afterwards six senior officials - two chief directors and four directors - were put on precautionary leave.

The alleged irregularities related to the manipulation of the individual subsidy system, the allocation lists of contractors, advance payments done on work by contractors and poor or no inspections done by technical staff.

Mlamleli said the disciplinary hearings of the first six officials had already begun.

The extent of the alleged irregularities and the amounts involved were not immediately clear.

However, Mlamleli said 20 000 outstanding projects (individual houses) had been identified, and of these 9 000 had been investigated.

She said the irregularities were found to be in all governmental subsidised housing programmes.

"Wherever there is a incomplete housing programme, it affects all: cities, towns and rural areas," the MEC said.

Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale recently told the portfolio committee on housing that wrongful housing allocations by senior Free State managers and irregular expenditure had so far amounted to R500m.

Head of the Free State Human Settlements department Nthimotse Mokhesi said the money had not disappeared.

"We are following where it had gone, it's advance payments done. We were able to reconcile material and work-in-progress of R57m up to now."

Mlamleli said she was not aware of Sexwale's threat to put her department under administration.

"It is not on my desk [documents], there has been no mail. I have seen no threat."

Earlier this year, Mlamleli said the Free State would not build any new houses this financial year and would rather focus on completing and rectifying existing housing projects.

A budget of R960m had been allocated for the department's total housing responsibility.

The special investigating unit has also started new investigations regarding payments made to certain building material suppliers, the department said.

  • christelle.james.7 - 2012-09-13 21:19

    I wish people would stop blaming apartheid and all that jazz and start looking at the issues above which is making headlines every single day and hold the party accountable for the poor state our country is in. Hold them accountable by staying away from the polls if you do not want to vote for another party.

      frank.vankaapstad - 2012-09-13 22:17

      It actually stretches beyond just staying away from the polls. Hundreds of thousands of people in this country donate millions and millions to the poor every year because they feel sorry for them. Yet the poor keep voting for a party that is hellbent on discriminating against whites and misappropriating and stealing money that is meant to uplift everyone in this nation. How long are we fools going to keep giving and giving when most of the nation is trying their best to take everything away from us?

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-13 21:46

    Fired? How about firing them?

  • raj.maharaj.520 - 2012-09-13 22:39

    Eish, not another SMME, BEE, AFIRMATIVE ACTION story. Enough is enough, aren't you guys getting paid enough. Take only what is due to you and as agreed when you were employed in that position. Appreciate the opportunity given and stop giving your party and your people a bad name. It is for the same reason that I do not vote because once the person is in power they think of lining their own pockets. Politics is a never winning situation for the man on the street. It is just empty promises so I don't believe in it.

  • Hendrik JJ Kruger - 2012-09-14 05:52

    Take the easy way out and blame this on apartheid too! the usual ANC scapegoat. I dont see any reason why they should take responsibility for raping and corrupting this country. they never have and never will. neither with they stop until there's nothing left. So please, make my day and blame this on the white man!

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