Four senior managers in the Department of Military Veterans have been suspended, while the department intensifies its investigations into almost R120m in irregular expenditure.
Johannesburg – Four senior managers in the Department of Military Veterans have been suspended, while the department intensifies its investigations into almost R120 million in irregular expenditure.
The department also racked up fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R5 million in the last financial year.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla said the four were placed on “precautionary suspension” as part of its consequence management implementation.
Makwetla indicated that the decision to suspend the managers was effected by the Department’s newly-appointed director-general Irene Mpolweni.
According to Makwetla, the department will now appoint service providers to commence with the investigations.
“The service provider will also be appointed to attend to the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the investigation,” he said.
The deputy minister also said in dealing with this matter “expeditiously and efficiently”, the department intended to adhere strictly to the prescribed 60-day period to bring the investigations to finality.
The four suspended managers would remain suspended until the outcome of the investigations.
“The decision of the director-general to place these senior managers under precautionary suspension is also intended to respond to the demands of consequence management, as required by the Public Service Commission,” Makwetla said.
He explained that the Public Service Commission (PSC), last month, wrote to the then acting director general Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi – who has since retired – requesting him to provide information on consequence management in respect of irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditure by the department.
He said the PSC noted that, in the annual report for the 2019/2020 financial year, the department reported irregular expenditure amounting to R119 002 000, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R5 084 000.
The PSC also made the point that reports on financial misconduct, submitted by the department for the last financial year to the PSC, “does not reflect whether consequence management was or will be imposed against the perpetrators that committed irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”
Makwetla said the PSC and the director-general of the Department of Military Veterans agreed to collaborate to overcome the challenges facing the department.
In May, former defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula admitted that irregular expenditure in the department continued to increase by R3 billion a year.
While tabling her budget vote, Mapisa-Nqakula said the auditor-general raised numerous deficiencies in the department’s control systems.
She acknowledged that the department had “weaknesses in our governance and control systems, as well as challenges within the supply chain management environment.”
In a recent Cabinet shake-up, Mapisa-Nqakula was moved to the National Assembly as Speaker, following her election by a majority of ANC MPs, while the Ministry of Defence was taken over by Thandi Modise.