PEMMY Majodina, the Eastern Cape MEC for social development, has apologised to Bhisho legislators after her department was accused of poor reporting and misleading MPLs.

“I am ashamed of departmental work. I apologise unreservedly that the poor quality of departmental documents made it difficult for the committee to exercise their full oversight,” Majodina told the Eastern Cape legislature’s portfolio committee.

The committee said in a report the department had again submitted substandard documents with “huge budget omissions” and said the documents could be “construed as a deliberate effort to mislead the committee”.

In its report, the committee found that of the overall R1.7-billion budget for the department, R89.9-million was allocated for a district management sub-programme.

“However, in spite of this huge amount the department failed to plan for the activities to be carried out,” the committee said in its report.

“The department must provide the committee with a plan that clearly indicates activities to be carried out and must also allocate funds accordingly,” it said. The committee also found:

R173-million was not reflected in the initial operational plan, compromising the analysis of the administration’s budget;

R751-million allocated for social welfare services was not included in the initial operation plan;

A number of work opportunities created through the expanded public works programme had fallen by 29% while the conditional grant had been increased by 19.6 %;

A crime prevention sub-programme was allocated R100.7-million – an increase of 58.5% – yet the department did not spend the amount; and

A R33-million deficit reflected in an initial operational plan for development and research could not be explained.

The committee blamed the head of the department, Bea Hackula, for the poor documentation, calling it “lax” and saying it did not “take the committee and by implication the legislature seriously”.

“The MEC must indicate to the committee what corrective measures are going to be taken against the accounting officer for this substandard quality of work,” the report said.

COPE’s Noxolo Ndabeni said: “We are disappointed that instead of improving the department, they seem to take a step back.”

The DA’s Veliswa Mvenya said Majodina had been advised to do a clean-up of her administration before going all out on service delivery.

Majodina welcomed the report and committed to furnish reports within 30 days explaining what went wrong in matters raised.

“I humble myself before this august house that there was no deliberate effort to mislead the committee.

“I fully agree there was no quality assurance,” Majodina said.

However, she defended Hackula whom she said had only a skeleton staff and needed to be capacitated.

Contacted for comment, Hackula said there was a formal process her department had to follow in responding to the committee’s concerns and she would not like to delve into the matter in the media. —