Suspended Bhisho officials paid R1m to sit at home: Daily Dispatch

TAXPAYERS have forked out more than R1-million in eighteen months paying the salaries of 10 Eastern Cape social development officials who are sitting at home on precautionary suspension.

This department has 32 pending disciplinary cases against staff members.

Among these officials is one accused of buying R104 446 worth of radio airtime without following the correct procurement procedures.

Another is being investigated for adding R5 500 to a quotation from a service provider who quoted the department R20 500.

The official is accused of doctoring the quotation to read R26 600.

He has been away from work for two months.

These cases are contained in a written response from social development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi to a question asked in the legislature by DA MPL Kobus Botha.

According to Sihlwayi, some of these officials have been suspended on full pay for as long as 18 months.

The airtime official has been on suspension since July 2016.

Of the 32 pending disciplinary hearings, Sihlwayi said only 10 were on suspension, with the remainder still at work because the “nature of their cases would not tamper with the investigation” against them.

“It is anticipated that the precautionary suspensions would be uplifted by March 31,” she said of the 10.

Botha called the delays a further sign that the department had collapsed, a state he blamed on Sihlwayi.

“This department is broken, with performance reports indicating a regression over the past three financial years,” said Botha.

“The MEC must realise that no matter what else separates us as South Africans, we all agree that corruption can have no place in a free and democratic South Africa.

“It is the greatest enemy in our fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“The MEC must up her game and put in place new systems that combat corruption and correct the weak internal control systems in her department,” he added. — ZINGISA MVUMVU Senior Political Reporter