Scopa unfair, claims under-fire MEC

2012-12-12 22:50

Johannesburg - The North West's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) was "grossly unfair" in not accepting Education MEC Louisa Mabe's apology for failing to appear before the committee, her department said on Wednesday.

"She was only given one-day’s notice to appear before the committee," said department spokesperson Gershwin Chuenyane in a statement.

"She had prior commitments which she could not postpone as they were agreed a while ago."

Mabe was asked to appear before the committee to address media reports stating she and Finance MEC Paul Sebegoe had spent R13m on a disciplinary hearing.

The North West legislature said in a statement on Tuesday the disciplinary hearing concerned suspended department head (HOD) Johannes Mohlala.

Chuenyane said: "MEC Mabe will not respond to the allegations pertaining to the disciplinary hearing of the department of finance head of department [due to the disciplinary hearing still in progress]."

Sebegoe's department said on Tuesday the newspaper report alleging he and Mabe spent R13m on legal fees for the hearing was wrong.

"The information published by the newspaper in question is gross misrepresentation of facts,” department spokesperson Kesalopa Gill said in a statement.

"The MEC submitted an apology for not attending the Scopa meeting as he was not available due to prior commitments. It is unfortunate that no arrangements were made to determine [his] availability."

The department had taken up the matter with the editor and was awaiting a response.

Gill said that with the matter still under review, the department could not comment further on the case.

On Tuesday, Scopa called for the expulsion of the two MECs.

This came after Sebegoe and Mabe failed to appear before Scopa to address media reports relating to the disciplinary hearing.

Acting HOD Geo Paul reportedly wrote to Mabe asking if she was going to avoid standard practice and appoint a law firm on contract for the hearing, the cost of which was not allowed to exceed R500 000.

However, according to media reports an invoice from the law firm Mabe appointed showed the department paid nearly R2m for a single invoice, spending R13m in total.

It was reported that Mabe was the chief witness in the matter.

Scopa wanted Mabe and Sebegoe expelled because they both failed to appear before the committee to explain the matter as requested.

"The two sent apologies but the committee 'rejected them with contempt'," the legislature said.

Scopa chairperson Hlomane Chauke said public money could not be spent in that manner, with Sebegoe and Mabe refusing to take responsibility and account for it. He said if media reports were correct, Mabe had acted in bad faith.

"They were given enough time to come and present facts to the committee and they failed to do so," said Chauke.

"If we do not take action we will see the collapse of accountability in the province."

Scopa resolved the matter be brought to the attention of premier Thandi Modise.

  • hein.huyser - 2012-12-13 06:14

    This is serious. If there was'nt a R13m bill there wouldn't have been a problem in the firdt instance. They have a case to answer for, and if a forensic invedtigation were done, one would find this is but the tip of the iceberg

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-12-13 06:20

    Nothing new here, public funds grow on trees the more you pick the more it grows or so these people think!! To my mind it would have been the most important act to attend the hearing to ensure the correct facts are made known, but then again if the facts are as stated maybe would not attend.

  • niel29 - 2012-12-13 06:29

    Aikona! Its also unfair that you as MEC did not your job!

  • Nakedi - 2012-12-13 07:48

    minister using public funds irrisponsibly mst b brought to book nd strong actions mst b taken against them

  • FeebleGastro - 2012-12-13 07:58

    WTF is that thing on her head?

      andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-12-13 09:10

      Its called a mop!!

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-12-13 09:22

    Unfair?. Calling upon someone to do her duty when she doesn't feel like it, isn't unfair. She didn't want to appear and that's that. Like usual the blame is shifted on to the shoulders of others. The usual dose of ostrich politics.

      phuphudlelwe.vukayilahle - 2013-02-06 02:14

      No. jacqui. its unfair to be a dieheartead citizen of this country under what we call todays ANC goverment.

  • brian.connell.18 - 2013-02-06 08:42

    "You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you’re incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others—that you’re unfit to exist in freedom, but fit to become an omnipotent ruler..." - Atlas Shrugged

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