Home News DA calls for probe in city’s skate cup saga

DA calls for probe in city’s skate cup saga

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The author of the social media posts alleges that a senior official from Dedat attempted to extort money from the Skateboarding Grand Prix (WSGP) on several occasions

Andrew Louw

WHILE the DA in the Northern Cape yesterday called for an investigation into allegations of criminal activities related to the Kimberley Diamond Cup (KDC), the departments of Economic Development (Dedat) and Social Development (DSD) have accused the source of the allegations of slander and defamation of character.

Several senior officials in various government departments have been implicated in the accusations.

At a press conference yesterday, the DA provincial leader, Andrew Louw, and MPL Boitumelo Babuseng called on the Office of the Premier to intervene following serious accusations, including that of extortion, corruption and fraud, that were made on social media by the former service provider involved in the KDC.

Among others, the author of the social media posts alleges that a senior official from Dedat attempted to extort money from the World Skateboarding Grand Prix (WSGP) on several occasions.

According to the author, the same Dedat official, along with a senior manager from the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA), would put pressure on the service provider to use specific vendors, regardless of significantly higher bids and an inferior quality of work.

The posts further accused an MEC of changing the circumstances of a meeting in such a way that he could ask for money from the service provider and also accused a head of department of “creative financial reporting”.

“The allegations also describe how exorbitant amounts were spent on travel for bloated delegations from the Northern Cape to attend planning meetings overseas, where very little work would get done as many of the provincial delegates ‘were either drinking, shopping or trying to buy prostitutes’,” Babuseng said.

“The trips included one to New York, where 20 delegates from the Province flew business class on Emirates Airlines and yet nobody attended any of the meetings.”

Dedat spokesperson, Zandisile Luphahla, confirmed that the department was aware of the social media posts containing the allegations, but had not known the identity of the author prior to the DA’s press conference yesterday.

“We have known about the social media posts for some time, but were only told today who was behind them,” Luphahla said in response to media enquiries yesterday.

“We view these allegations as highly damaging and the department will be guided by the legal action taken by the individuals that he named on social media.

“To date he has been hiding behind anonymity on social media, but his actions and these allegations are tantamount to defamation of character.

“While the accusations were made against individuals and not against the department itself, we still view them in a very serious light.

“We will also be exploring possible legal action against the DA, who have continued to mention the names of these individuals who are yet to be charged.”

Similar allegations were also made against an official from the Department of Social Development, prompting spokesperson Gamiem Abrahams to reiterate Luphahla’s sentiments, adding that legal action had already been taken by the DSD official.

“The DSD takes note with concern the allegations levelled against the official,” he said.

“At this stage the allegations are untested and border on slander. The official has sought legal advice and as such the matter is sub judice.”

Spokesperson for the NCTA, Tebogo Velembo, referred enquiries to the office of Dedat MEC, Mac Jack.