Home South African Ramaphosa has ‘no intention’ of suspending Nkoana-Mashabane over R118m land scandal

Ramaphosa has ‘no intention’ of suspending Nkoana-Mashabane over R118m land scandal

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The Department of International Relations and Co-operation incurred the irregular costs on the highly controversial New York Pilot Project while she was the political head of the department.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa says he has no intention to suspend Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in connection with the R118 million irregular expenditure incurred on the New York Pilot Project.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) incurred the costs while she was the political head of the department.

Under her tenure, Dirco had planned to construct a building via a public-private partnership that would include offices for the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the South African Consulate in New York and apartments, among other things.

In a recent parliamentary reply, incumbent International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor said her department brought an application in March 2018 to have the tender reviewed and set aside by the high court.

Pandor said the review application also requested for the recovery of the money that was paid to the service provider by the department.

The hearing on the matter took place in October 2020 and the judgment is still awaited, she said.

However, DA MP Mergan Chetty asked Ramaphosa whether he would recall ambassador Jerry Matjila, who was the director-general of the department during the initiation of the highly controversial project.

In response, Ramaphosa said Matjila was no longer an official of the department as the employer-employee relationship was terminated on January 15.

Chetty also asked if he would suspend Nkoana-Mashabane, whom he said failed to exercise her executive oversight as the then minister of the department.

“There is no intention to suspend Minister Nkoana-Mashabane,” Ramaphosa said.

Political Bureau