More dirt on state housing agency exposes rot

The state agency responsible for building low-cost houses has been accused of shielding graft by some of its current and former senior staff. Picture: Leon Nicholas

The state agency responsible for building low-cost houses has been accused of shielding graft by some of its current and former senior staff. Picture: Leon Nicholas

Published Dec 10, 2023


A FORMER Housing Development Agency (HDA) senior official claims he has been targeted by an ex-boss whom he accused of corruption in the entity.

Malik Kashe, formerly the HDA’s Eastern Cape development manager until his contract ended last week, was charged with causing the entity a R44 million loss and another R15m overpayment to the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

The charge sheet for Kashe’s disciplinary action was signed by the same official he accused of approving payments of about R20.3m, in prepayments to consultants, on the upgrading of 115 informal settlements programmes (UISP) across four district municipalities in the Eastern Cape in 2021.

The saga prompted Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi to issue a strong rebuke to Kashe last week.

However, documents in possession of the Sunday Independent show that Kashe made the accusations long before he was disciplined.

His representatives, the General Industries Workers Union of SA (Giwusa), said Kashe was placed on precautionary suspensions for almost five months, but the HDA ignored and trivialised every protestation regarding the irregularity of this procedure.

In addition, they also refused to charge Kashe during this period until Giwusa protested, barely a week before the end of his contract with HDA.

The charge sheet also states that Kashe and one of his subordinates retrospectively implemented the quantum adjustments, which resulted in the HDA suffering a loss.

The adjustments were for the UISP and have been approved by Kubayi through a ministerial determination, as well as other HDA officials.

”On or about 14 February 2023, you and the chief engineer Loyiso Morrison prepared a professional resources teams scope variation report under the ambit of the UISP for approval,” reads the charge sheet.

It also states that Kashe’s report was approved by his former boss, but that HDA chief executive Bheki Khenisa considered Kashe’s report after approval from the bid adjudication committee (BAC).

”It is to be noted that post the BAC approval of the report and the applicable quantums, the chief executive officer raised concerns regarding the applicability, scope and nature of increase of the subsidy quantums, based on invoices presented for approval in terms of delegated authority.

”An area of concern was the fact that the subsidy quantum increases were being implemented retrospectively,” reads the charge sheet.

According to the HDA, despite the BAC not approving the quantum adjustment, retrospectively, Kashe and his subordinate informed services providers, through letters, of the committee’s approval of the upward adjustment and failed to mention that it was not to be applied retrospectively.

Kashe was accused of gross misconduct as he allegedly failed to act within the duties embodied in his job description as per his employment contract, and further violated the Public Finance Management Act.

”Your conduct constitutes gross misconduct and a breach of your contract of employment,” states the charge sheet.

The HDA claimed the loss of R 44m and overpayment of R1m to Sars was expenditure made in vain, and said such expenditure would have been avoided had reasonable care been exercised.

HDA acting board chairperson Rajesh Makan informed Giwusa last month that the agency’s management was looking into some of the allegations received recently, with a view to authenticating their veracity.

”Once that has been done, the management’s intention is to refer those allegations to law enforcement units,” he told the union.

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