DAILY NEWS REPORTER

Last week Agriculture and Environmental Affairs MEC Meshack Radebe said officials in his department had looted its coffers through corrupt tender deals, theft and maladministration, and it was all detailed in a report that is yet to be made public.

The amount looted from his department was almost R1 billion, Radebe told the Daily News. He promised to release the document to the public before the elections, saying all of the accused would be held to account.

But the DA says it is not holding its breath.

“The MEC’s promise is not new,” said DA MPL Mark Steele. “In fact, he has been promising to take action for more than a year after the problem was first exposed on his watch in December 2012. In February last year, the MEC stated in the media that “heads will roll”. During his budget speech in June last year, he said the same thing. We’re still waiting

The MP said the Agriculture Department was in a sorry state and its leadership should take some of the blame.

“The many serious allegations relating to nepotism and irregular supply chain management (procurement) procedures in the department speak to the MEC’s fitness for purpose. Oversight and monitoring of grants point to weak financial management systems.”

Steele said the department had fine professionals dedicated to agriculture extension, but its leadership “seems to treat it like the province’s welcome wagon, with handouts to anyone politically connected”.