A frustrating week at hearings on state of shelters after officials arrive unprepared

2019-12-07 09:44
(Photo: Mbongiseni Maseko)

(Photo: Mbongiseni Maseko)

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Officials at the public hearings into the state of shelters sent the acting director general of the Department of Social Development away this week, instructing him to prepare himself properly before returning to give them answers.

The Commission for Gender Equality (GCE) has been chairing the hearings in Braamfontein this week.

According to GCE spokesperson Javu Baloyi, acting director general Mzolisi Toni could not furnish the commission with relevant answers when he appeared on Monday.

"Toni doesn't know what is happening in the department with regards to funding and running of shelters in the country. Therefore, the commission sent him back. He was given until Friday to provide the commission with relevant answers," said Baloyi.

Toni was not the only one sent away this week.

A delegation from the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development was also sent away.

The provincial department had sent junior officials to the hearings instead of invited senior officials.

Baloyi said the junior officials didn't have the delegated authority to engage with the commission.

On Friday, deputy director general of the Department of Labour, Virgil Seafield and his colleague Stephen Rathai didn't appear before the commission because it wanted director general Thobile Lamati, to represent the department after he was invited in October.

Virgil said he was representing Lamati, who was out of the country.

Acting chairperson of Ohara Diseko vowed to write to Minister of Labour Thulas Nxesi and complain about Lamati's failure to appear before the commission despite his knowledge about the hearings.

It was also revealed that officials from the national Department of Public Works and Department of Social Development in the North West were sent away because they were ill-prepared.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development was asked to undergo six months of training on sensitive matters relating to the LGBTQ+ community.

Baloyi said the commission would approach Auditor General Kimi Makwetu to investigate after it was revealed that money allocated to some provinces had been wasted. 

"We have established that there are serious allegations of wasteful expenditure in some departments of social development in the country and some provinces failing to account. In some provinces, there is lack of understanding about shelters…

"There are serious financial discrepancies and we suspect maladministration and corruption. However, after completing our hearings, we are going to write to the Auditor General to investigate," said Baloyi.

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