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Mpumalanga Premier unable to account for irregular expenditure amounting to more than R270 million

Two provincial departments in Mpumalanga have paid more than R270 million during the 2019/2020 financial years to a Unit that no longer even exists – not since 2018 – and when asked to account for it, Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, merely shrugged her shoulders.

During a question-and-answer session in the provincial Legislature, the FF Plus asked the Premier to explain why R182 million from the coffers of the Department of Health and R96 million from the Department of Social Development was paid to a Rapid Implementation Unit (RIU), while that Unit was dissolved in 2018.

According to the Premier, the FF Plus's questions on the matter were irrelevant seeing as the RIU had been dissolved. She refused to expand on what the funds were used for.

Audit reports for the 2019/2020 financial year for both departments indicate that the aforementioned amounts that were paid to the RIU constitute irregular expenditure.

The Unit was established by the former Director-general of Mpumalanga, Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize, after a Cabinet decision to remove obstacles so as to fast-track infrastructure projects, like RDP housing, schools, roads and clinics. The RIU resided in the Premier's Office.

According to 2018 media reports, provincial officials made off with more than R300 million under the smokescreen of the RIU between 2015 and 2018 before the Auditor-General (AG) recommended that the Unit must be dissolved as it was considered a vehicle for irregular expenditure.

The FF Plus refuses to let the matter go and will keep asking questions to get to the truth and ensure that the guilty parties are brought to book.

 

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