Bloemfontein - The financial and management affairs of the Free State Tourism Authority were described as a disaster by provincial politicians on Tuesday.

The authority was appearing before the Free State’s oversight committee on public accounts.

The politicians were looking for answers to several unbudgeted payments, including one of R4.5 million and another of R4.2m, to companies.

Free State tourism board chairman Glen Netshivhodza said several contracts signed by the authority’s former CEO Monyane Sefantsi and former Free State Tourism MEC Mxolisi Dukwane were not budgeted.

However, the companies had demanded payment, which had led to over expenditures.

Sefantsi’s contract has not been renewed.

No proper answers could also be given for expenses of more than R917,000 incurred by three of the authority's officials, including Sefantsi, at the 2012 London Olympics.

Committee members wanted to know what benefit the Free State got from the visit to the Games.

“This is becoming a joke,” Van Rooyen said when no answer was forthcoming.

He said every time the board’s chairman or the authority’s officials appear before the oversight committee in the past, there had been new faces.

“It cannot go on like this. Nobody here can give a proper answer as to what is happening.”

Democratic Alliance member Peter Frewen said five tourism authority board members had attended nine meetings over a year, at a cost of R3 million.

“If they delivered, it might be something else, but what have they delivered? Show us.”

Netshivhodza, who became board chairman in March, and his officials could not answer.

Committee members also asked whether the Free State could afford a parastatal whose officials constantly travelled overseas and returned with nothing to show. - Sapa