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A LACK of oversight by Limpopo Education MEC Dickson Masemola contributed to his department’s “pathetic” state of affairs and an unauthorised expenditure bill of R2,2 billion last year.
A secret report on the bankrupt department has put the blame on Masemola, for apparently failing to act against budget “abuse” and constant deviation by his officials.
The 47-page report, of which The Star Africa has a copy, was penned by the department’s former administrator, Dr Anis Karodia, and delivered to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) during its four-day fact-finding mission to Limpopo in March.
The report noted that the structure of the department was “top heavy and cumbersome”. Some senior managers had no relevant qualifications.
Karodia said the department’s financial systems were in a state of “decay, morass” and did “not speak” to the delivery of educational priorities.
Masemola’s spokesman, Pat Kgomo, dismissed Karodia’s report as baseless and “unsubstantiated”.
The provincial education department went bankrupt in September.
It failed to pay for textbooks for this year’s pupil intake and was placed under administration by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in December.
Two forensic auditing companies have since found evidence of rampant maladministration, financial mismanagement, tender fraud and the looting of the department by various officials.
Karodia’s report blamed poor systems, poor monitoring and “serious” dereliction for the problem.
The department contravened the financial laws by splitting orders. This is a system in which officials split a multimillion-rand tender into smaller ones of less than R500 000 to avoid putting it out to competitive bidding.
The report said officials captured staff allowances on BSA IT system (used to capture goods), rather than Persal (used to capture staff information) to evade paying personal tax.
It said there was no oversight by departmental head Morebudi Thamaga, chief financial officer Martin Mashaba, the MEC senior management, which directly led to unauthorised expenditure, said the report.
Kgomo said the MEC challenged the authenticity of the report and the ‘‘unsubstantiated allegations’’.
Karodia’s report had lifted the lid on the bankrupt department, putting the blame squarely on a culture of nepotism: “family ties and friendships from the very top” and clock watching.