DURBAN - THE KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) is expected to respond to allegations, by Thursday, that it allegedly spent R2.2.million on personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff – at a library that does not yet exist.
DA KZN spokesperson on Arts and Culture and MPL Bradley Singh said that a three-year, multimillion rand project for the construction of the Dukudu Library, in Mtubatuba, was set to begin in March 2019 and end in March 2022.
He said the project, which had barely begun two years was originally allocated R32.1m.
Singh said the shocking finding was made after the DAC failed to disclose its financials for the 2020/21 fourth quarter, during a recent portfolio committee meeting.
“With nine months now left until its projected completion, a total of R6.5 million has been used from this budget. Most shocking though is the procurement of PPE, to the value of more than R2 million. This for an, as yet, non-existent library and staff,” said Singh.
“What we now have is yet another failed project. This is, by far, one of the most preposterous findings to come out of this department. The department lacks motivation and integrity, and needs to be held accountable for its actions.
“It is incomprehensible that while there are hundreds of artists struggling to survive in the midst of a global health pandemic, it has spent millions on PPE for staff at a facility which does not exist,” Singh said.
Singh expected the DAC to confirm whether the amount was spent on PPE for the library, and awaited advice on who would be held accountable.
Singh sent questions to the department on Thursday.
“They must reveal whether the department was misled by anyone and what plans they have to recover the money. The DA expects answers within the next seven days, and for those officials, who were part of this PPE heist, to answer for their actions and for criminal charges to be laid against them, for their unlawful activities,” Singh said.
The department said KZN Arts and Culture MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela would respond to the allegations in Parliament.