BLOEMFONTEIN - Six high ranking officials of human settlements department in Free State have been suspended pending disciplinary hearings. Human settlements MEC Olly Mlamleli announced at a media briefing in Bloemfontein that Kaizer Maxhatswa, Mamiki Mokhele, Fifi Makhaotse, Kabelo Koloi, Connie Thwala and Loyiso Mdenze were fingered in an internal investigation. Mlamleli said an investigation covered manipulation of the individual subsidy system, allocation lists of contractors, advance payment and poor or non-inspection by the technical staff.
“I therefore wish to make it known that further three senior administrative officers received letters of suspension relating to allegations of payment irregularities to contractors for incomplete projects”, Mlamlelei said, adding that the principle of innocent until proven guilty applies in all the cases. Altogether nine officials of the department have been suspended. Disciplinary processes for six others have already started.
The national department of human settlements has also requested the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate financial maladministration in the provincial department. National Human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale recently told parliament’s portofolio committee that Free State department’s senior officials had incurred an irregular expenditure of about 500 million rand due to wrongful allocation and payments for work that was not done.
Mlamleli said the SIU has presented the provisional outcomes of their investigations. She said once the department has considered the report remedial steps will be taken by the department. Provincial head of the human settlements department Nthimotse Mokhesi said about twenty thousand people are still waiting for houses in the province. He said the problem of insufficient housing is a national one.
The department took a decision not to build any new houses this year but to focus instead on repairing or rebuilding the incomplete ones. Nineteen thousand of those houses have thus far been completed. Mlamleli said she was not aware of national minister Tokyo Sexwale’s intention to put the department under administration.