Bid to track R700 000 spent on consultants

By Philda Essop

Hard questions have been raised in the provincial legislature about the irregular expenditure by the Western Cape housing department on consultants - to the tune of almost R700 000 - during the 2002/2003 and 2003/2004 financial years.

Politicians voiced deep concern about the irregular expenditure on Wednesday when the annual report of the housing department came under the spotlight. They demanded that a list of all consultants employed by the department be handed to them within two weeks.

The total irregular expenditure on consultants during the previous financial year amounted to approximately R247 000 and a further amount of about R443 000 was spent during the 2003/4 financial year.

According to the annual report, the appointment of consultants during the 2002/2003 financial year was not undertaken in terms of the normal tender process nor was approval obtained for deviation from the prescribed process.

Michael de Villiers, MPL for the Democratic Alliance, said he was still waiting on an answer on the irregular appointment of Mohaleng Consultants by the previous housing MEC, Nomatyala Hangana. The appointment of these consultants was recorded as irregular last 2004.

De Villiers said afterwards Hangana and former Western Cape premier Marthinus van Schalkwyk should personally be held responsible for the irregular expenditure.

"I wrote letters to them about the issue but they never acted on it. They deliberately stalled the process," he said.

Grant Haskin, MPL for the African Christian Democratic Party, wanted to know why a list of the consultants were not included in the annual report. "We want to know what work these consultants performed that could not be done by officials in the department."

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