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DA Welcomes suspension of HOD

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The DA’s provincial spokesperson in the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ofentse Mokae said the suspension has been long-awaited.

HOD for Sports, Arts and Culture, Ruth Palm. Picture: dsac.ncpg.gov.za

THE DEMOCRATIC Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape has welcomed the suspension of the Head of Department for Sport, Arts and Culture, Ruth Palm.

The party’s provincial spokesperson in the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ofentse Mokae said the suspension has been long-awaited.

The Office of the Premier of the Northern Cape confirmed on Thursday, September 17, that premier, Dr Zamani Saul took a decision to suspend Mrs Palm following the finding of the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report regarding Palm’s involvement in the procurement of funds awarded to an events company for an event that never took place.

Mkhwebane found Palm guilty of approving payment of R1 million for Traffic Events for a Youth Cultural Festival in Umsobomvu municipality in December 2016.

Mokae said the party has been calling for the suspension of Palm.

“The DA has been lobbying for Palm’s suspension since allegations of maladministration began to shadow the department in February this year. This, after a report by the Office of the Public Protector report, found Palm guilty of approving a payment of R1 million to the Traffic Events company in 2016, for one of a series of three events that never took place in 2017. Earlier this month, a further incident relating to the mismanagement of public funds under her watch also made headlines,” he said.

He said these incidents were not the first whereby Palm was implicated in alleged corrupt activities.

“In 2012 Palm was implicated in a case that involved defrauding the Department of Roads and Public Works of more than R47 million. While the DA is relieved that Palm’s powers to defraud the state have finally been ended, we are still concerned that it took the department so long to respond to the investigation report and allegations levelled against her.

“We can only hope that more funds did not manage to leak from the department’s coffers during this time-lapse. Palm has to answer to all the allegations levelled against her, and the DA will stop at nothing to ensure that the public funds involved are accounted for, as the public deserves to know the truth,” said Mokae.