The IFP has urged the MEC for agriculture in KZN to eradicate corruption it said had seen more than R200 million of drought relief funds squandered. Picture: Reuters/Lindsay Morris

Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party has urged the member of the executive council for agriculture in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, Bongi Sithole Moloi, to eradicate corruption it said had seen more than R200 million of drought relief funds squandered, among other abuses.

In a statement the IFP applauded the allocation of R2.4 billion for the department in the provincial budget, but said it was in need of a turnaround strategy to deal decisively with graft.

The call comes against the background of a forensic investigation launched into the alleged misuse of more than R200 million of relief funds meant for subsistence farmers after the province was declared a disaster area following a crippling drought in 2015. 

Farmers were supposed to use the money for water harvesting‚ the scooping of dams, rehabilitation of boreholes and provision of stock-feed. The report into the probe has not been made public.

"The IFP believes that it is high time for the MEC to be tough on corruption," the party said. "She must safeguard the public purse in the department of agriculture."

It noted that another forensic report commissioned by former agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe after R60-million meant to assist emerging farmers in rural areas had not been accounted for in 2012. Results of an investigation completed in February 2014 have also not been released.

"We are extremely concerned that delays appear to be deliberate, undue and unreasonable, and we condemn this lack of progress," the IFP said. 

"The delay in identifying the perpetrators and masterminds behind the alleged corrupt activities is undermining the public’s trust in the government. We demand proper, fair and time-bound investigations in this province. Justice delayed is justice denied."

African News Agency (ANA)