Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe. Picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - Seven senior officials in the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) are holding on to their jobs despite having been implicated in tender and appointment irregularities amounting to more than R43million.

This was revealed by Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe, in her written responses to questions by the DA’s Lebo More in the provincial legislature.

More wanted Hlope to give details about irregular expenditure experienced by her department, including various tenders illegally issued to certain bus companies.

In her reply, Hlophe confirmed that investigations by her department had identified irregular expenditure from 2017 until August 2019. She said the total amount was R2.2m.

Hlophe also revealed that irregular appointments of bus companies began in 2016 and continued until September this year.

In September, Hlophe gave details of at least four bus companies that allegedly received preference to transport residents to various national public holiday events hosted by the provincial government. At the time, she admitted that her department had been using the same bus companies over the years, which prompted her to institute an investigation.

The irregular appointment of a training service provider cost R472000 and the appointment of a performance management development system (PMDS) cost R137363.

Hlophe said the department had investigated these irregularities and identifed the root causes which, she said, pertained to non-compliance with supply chain management processes.

“We identified the specific officials implicated in the transactions and, based on the investigations, four officials were charged with misconduct for irregular appointments and PMDS.

“Three officials were charged with misconduct for contravention of procurement processes.”

She said five of the seven were senior officials in the government. However, none had been suspended.

Reacting to the revelations, More said: “This clearly indicates a serious lack of financial and consequence management by the department. These irregular appointments, tenders and PMDS payments have been ongoing for years, and this was only revealed after the DA asked questions.”

He said only one official was dismissed, in February this year, for gross misconduct and dereliction pertaining to an irregular appointment and irregular payment of a performance reward.

“Despite the investigation confirming that several officials were implicated, none have been suspended. The DA calls on the MEC to act against the seven officials,” More said.

Political Bureau