Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation response to City Press article with the following headline: “Department pays – despite no goods received” published on 28 August 2021
The Department notes with great concern yet another misleading article, this time published by City Press. of concern to the Department, is what appears to be a deliberate decision to ignore our response and a desperate attempt to place the MEC in the centre of the alleged corruption.
The Department rejects the allegations that money was paid for services that were not rendered. Documented evidence within our Assets Unit, indicates that the mobile library trolleys referred to in the article have been accordingly received by the end-user.
The instigators of the article intentionally fed the journalist a half-baked story, purposely misleading the nation on an issue the then Acting Head of Department Vuyani Mpofu had dealt with.
1. On the allegations that the department spent more than R6.5 million to purchase 55 mobile library trolleys without following the correct process.
• The Department participates in a tender issued by the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) in line with procurement prescripts. In this regard, the following process was followed, culminating with the delivery of the mobile library trolleys:
• The Department’s initial participation in the contract with GDE was in 2018. A further participation contract was entered into in October 2019 (a letter signed by GDE HoD approving participation on 15 October 2019 is accordingly available)
• The terms of reference for the procurement of mobile library trolleys as part of the classroom collection project for the fifty (50) identified schools for the 2019/2020 fiscal year through tender: GT/GDE/019/2019 was presented and approved by Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC). And the contract or Purchase Order (PO) subsequently dully approved.
• On the 17th of March 2020, the invoice was received from the Service Provider for processing of payment.
• And on the day of the payment run, i.e. 23 March 2020. The Gauteng Provincial Treasury (GPT) called to enquire about the transaction given its significance. On the same day, the currently suspended Chief Director confirmed to both ACFO, Acting HoD and GPT that the items were received and that two trollies had an issue on door handles.
• The (suspended) Chief Director at this point indicated that the items were stored in a storeroom, as they could not be delivered directly to the schools due to the hard lockdown level 5, as all schools were closed.
• With the confirmation of the Chief Director that the mobile trolleys were received, the transaction was processed, and the payment was made.
• Post-year-end, the transaction was audited by the AGSA who found no irregularities with the procurement processed, but however, noted that the assets had not been delivered to the department and as such cannot be recorded as an expense but should rather be disclosed as pre-payments to the service provider. The Department accordingly adjusted its Annual Financial Statement as per the advice of the auditors.
• Based on the findings by the AG, the then Acting HoD Mpofu indicated that the two officials (currently suspended Chief Director and an admin clerk within Libraries) responsible for misleading him and Finance should be disciplined, resulting in the admin clerk resigning with immediate effect and the subsequent suspension of the Chief Director for a variety of misconduct charges against her.
• The service provider was accordingly requested to deliver on all the items to the respective schools in line with the terms of reference, with the oversight of the Acting HoD and CFO, resulting in the clearing of the pre-payment.
2. With regards to the Purchase Order bearing the former HoD Monica Newton after she was no longer in the employ of the Department.
• The purchase order (PO) for the mobile trolleys were issued soon after Monica Newton, who was the HoD of the Department left. The POs are systematic templates that are generated by the system each time a PO is processed. The process of changing the signatory on the PO takes time and requires the involvement of e-government hence Monica Newton’s name was on the PO even though she was no longer employed by the Department. This has ultimately been fixed.
3. As detailed above the Department through the then Acting HoD swiftly dealt with the case. And it, therefore, remains curious why the instigators would sprint to media and bring the Department and MEC in particular into disrepute over a case long-handled.
4. Of concern to the MEC is the glaring weaknesses in monitoring and evaluation. As the Unit should have picked up the misinformation from the suspended Chief Director and admin clerk long before the AG did. In this regard, the MEC has held various meetings with the HoD, Chief Directors and Monitoring and Evaluation officials, and requested an AG Findings Mitigation Plan to deal with all persistent findings the Department has been getting over the past 5 financial years. In addition, she has tasked the HoD to ensure that monitoring and evaluation officials do their work and submit regular reports to ensure such cases are avoided in future.
5. Lastly, the Department takes its task seriously and continues to act on cases of corruption and maladministration as they occur. This is the resolve of the 6th Administration and the MEC has a known track record of dealing with corrupt elements. In this regard the shoddy journalism shown by Norman Maswingini of the City Press, is unfortunate. Had he bothered to investigate information fed to him he would have realised there’s no story here. The Department will accordingly contact the paper to request an apology and retraction.
Source: Government of South Africa