North West Legislature on irregular expenditure

North West SCOPA to refer under R8 million gate and fence matter at Taung Hotel School to section 100 intervention’s anti-corruption task team for investigations

The North West Provincial Legislature’s Standing Committee on Provincial Public Accounts (SCOPA) chaired by Hon. Job Dliso has resolved to involve the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Section 100 Intervention’s Anti-Corruption Task Team led by the National Treasury to investigate the irregular expenditure of over R4,4 million on a boom gate and the R3,4 million fence at Taung Hotel School renovation project.

This follows the Public Finance Management Act public hearings with the Department of Tourism, Department of Economic Development and entities for the 2018/19 audit reports.

At the meeting, the MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism, Kenetswe Mosenogi admitted that the then Department of Tourism escalated prices for the construction of the boom gate from an initial amount of R3 million to R4,4 million and the fence from R1,4 million to R3,4 million which is over 20 percent on variation of order without consulting the Provincial Treasury for concurrence at Taung Hotel School renovation project. The hotel School was bought by the department in 2016 for R5 million.

Hon. Dliso said the irregularities at the unfinished project are worrying as the prices were escalated without any concurrence from Provincial Treasury.

It is unexplainable on how the construction of just the gate and the fence is over the amount that the hotel was bought for. Someone must be held accountable as there is also poor workmanship at the project. The Independent Development Trust also warned the department on escalation of the prices yet it failed on their oversight, said Hon. Dliso.

The department also admitted that it spent over R3,5 million on renovations at the unused donated Orkney Game Academy building. The building was donated by AngloGold Ashanti mine in 2015.

MEC Mosenogi said the department plans to investigate the two projects as there is no clarity on the irregularities.

There is a culture of non-accountability and responsiveness in the department hence we plan to investigate the projects. The audit at the Tourism department and entities such as Tourism and Parks Boards has also regressed due to this culture of not implementing consequence management.

Unfortunately we cannot use the Orkney building as it is not suitable to be a game academy due to its location in a mining area. We have requested the North West Parks Board to look into the matter of re-establishing the academy within existing game parks of the department in the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District.

Hon. Dliso said the Standing Committee will also meet with the law enforcement agencies such as South African Police Service, The Hawks, National Prosecution Authority and the Special Investigations Unit to open cases of financial mismanagement and corruption.

The department should submit a detailed post audit action plan on addressing the regressed audit opinions, and breakdown of all the project costs at Taung Hotel School and Orkney game academy and how IDT was appointed including terms of reference, said Hon. Dliso.

Source: Government of South Africa