The North West department of tourism spent R4.4 million on a boom gate system and R3.4 million on a fence at the Taung Hotel School it bought for R5 million, the provincial standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) said on Monday.
“It is inexplicable on how the construction of just the gate and the fence is over the amount that the hotel was bought for. Someone must be held accountable as there is also poor workmanship at the project,” committee chairperson Job Dliso said.
“The Independent Development Trust also warned the department on escalation of the prices yet it failed on their oversight,” Dliso said.
North West department of tourism raked over the coals
IDT@work. Taung Hotel School entrance, a new tourism landmark being developed in Taung, North West. pic.twitter.com/AQLvzjcR2s
— Independent Development Trust (IDT) (@IDT_InDevTrust) September 6, 2018
He said the irregularities at the unfinished project were worrying as the prices escalated without any concurrence with provincial treasury.
This was revealed at the Public Finance Management Act public hearings for the 2018/19 audit reports.
Dliso wants national treasury’s Anti-Corruption Task Team to probe this irregular expenditure.
The department also admitted that it spent more than R3.5 million on renovations at the unused donated Orkney Game Academy building. The building was donated by AngloGold Ashanti mine in 2015.
Economic development, environment, conservation and tourism MEC Kenetswe Mosenogi admitted that the department escalated prices for the construction of the boom gate from an initial amount of R3 million to R4.4 million and the fence from R1.4 million to R3.4 million.
‘A culture of non-accountability and non-responsiveness’
This is more than 20 percent on variation of order and it was done without consulting the provincial treasury for concurrence on the Taung Hotel School renovation project.
The hotel school was bought by the department in 2016 for R5 million.
Mosenogi said the department planned to investigate the two projects as there was no clarity on the irregularities.
“There is a culture of non-accountability and (non-)responsiveness in the department hence we plan to investigate the projects. The audit at the tourism department and entities such as tourism and parks boards has also regressed due to this culture of not implementing consequence management.
“Unfortunately we cannot use the Orkney building as it is not suitable to be a game academy due to its location in a mining area,” Mosenogi said.
“We have requested the North West Parks Board to look into the matter of re-establishing the academy within existing game parks of the department in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District.”
Dliso said the committee would also meet with the law enforcement agencies open cases of financial mismanagement and corruption.
He also said the national Treasury’s anti-corruption task team should probe the irregular expenditure.
“The department should submit a detailed post audit action plan on addressing the regressed audit opinions and breakdown of all the project costs at Taung Hotel School and Orkney Game Academy and how IDT was appointed including terms of reference,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay