An oversight inspection by the DA has revealed yet another instance of potential squandering of taxpayers’ money by the province’s scandal-ridden Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture (DoSAC).
This after concerned members of the Richmond community turned to the DA regarding the R30 million library destined for the deprived rural eNdaleni community, which remains incomplete despite the contract being awarded in May last year.
The DA’s site visit reveals that there is very little to show for the R10 million already spent. Community members also told the DA that there has not been much activity since the start of the project a year ago. (view here and here). To make matters worse, the site has now been abandoned despite a R2 million payment by the DoSAC just a few weeks ago.
The DA expects newly-appointed MEC Ntuthuko Mahlaba to investigate this and report back to KZN’s Sports, Arts, and Culture portfolio committee. More importantly, he must account to the people of eNdaleni who are waiting in vain for their library.
This department has a history of corruption and lurches from one scandal to the next. In 2021, the DA exposed collusive tendering practices to the tune of R59 million. This was after contractors for eight modular libraries, along with the Dukuduku Library, was allegedly illegally appointed.
We also uncovered that the DSoAC unlawfully awarded R7.1 million to the same contractors at the time, supposedly for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is despite no construction taking place due to the pandemic.
The department is also yet to account for a recent R4 million booze bash in Durban for officials and staff and an event at the ICC, where artists performed to empty chairs. Then there is the contentious R7 million – paid upfront to a non-tax-compliant service provider operating from a flat in central Pietermaritzburg – for magazines not delivered to libraries. (view here)
This is taxpayers’ money and departmental officials must be held accountable. Where fraud has been committed, those involved must be criminally charged.
The DA expects the new MEC to investigate the fraud and corruption that continues within this notorious department. If he fails to do so, he may find himself following in his predecessor’s footsteps. The DA will not rest until the vultures have been removed from this department.