Durban - The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has made a string of allegations concerning the appointment of staff members in the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea).
The party’s provincial leaders briefed the media on this and other allegations on Tuesday.
They have compiled a dossier from information provided by the whistle-blowers and are going to hand over the information to the Special Investigating Unit.
However, Edtea spokesperson Ndabe Sibiya rubbished the allegations saying they were sourced from “pickpocketed and fabricated documents”.
DA provincial leader Francois Rodgers said their action was not motivated by the elections next year that were expected to be hotly contested between the ANC, IFP and the DA, especially in this province.
Outlining the allegations, Rodgers said whistle-blowers had raised concerns about irregular appointments within the department, there had been at least three appointments that have raised red flags.
“The whistle-blowers have revealed that an intern with just three months of experience has been appointed to a senior post within the ministry of the department,” said Rodgers.
He said in another instance, an employee who had been fired for corruption by a municipality was now employed by the department and an employee that was ranked at level 8 (grade) in a municipality where they had been working was appointed by the department and promoted to level 13 (grade).
The specific details around these allegations were not immediately clear yesterday as the DA said it did not want to reveal names and compromise any investigation that might follow.
“It is also important to add that at this point these are allegations until they have been confirmed by an investigation,” said Rodgers.
Edtea committee member Heinz de Boer also said allegations related to Tourism KZN had also emerged.
“There are quite a number of issues that have been brought to us by whistle-blowers about Tourism KwaZulu-Natal,” said de Boer.
He also raised concerns about the millions that are going to be spent by the department to host the South African Music Awards.
He said they are in support of the awards but felt the millions spent around the event could have gone to assist some of Edtea’s entities.
“It could have been better spent to fence the parks of Ezemvelo so that lions do not escape and kill livestock, and leopards do not escape and attack communities that live around the park,” he said.
In response, the department’s Sibiya said: “They said these were allegations. The burden of proof lies with the DA. Not with (Edtea).”
He also challenged other claims. “We had hoped that in the press briefing, DA leaders were going to present evidence to back up allegations. Embarrassingly, both Rodgers and De Boer admitted on camera that their press briefing was around allegations based on documents that had been pick-pocketed and fabricated.”