MPs grill Mokonyane over R2.5bn in irregular expenditure

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane's department is among the worst culprits identified by the AG's office.

FILE: Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane and top officials were grilled in Parliament over the R2.5 billion in irregular expenditure racked up by her department.

Parliament’s finance watchdog, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has begun interrogating ministers and departments responsible for the R45 billion in irregular spending reported by the Auditor General (AG) for the past financial year.

Mokonyane's department is among the worst culprits identified by the AG's office.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi and his committee were on the warpath.

“It’s a process different from any other that we’ve done before, and our objective is to ensure that you as accounting officers do what you are supposed to do in terms of the law, which is to ensure that those who incur irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, are firmly dealt with, beyond these meaningless written warnings.”

The bulk of the R2.5 billion in irregular spending was due to a company contracted by the Lepelle Northern Water Board failing to abide by the Water and Sanitation Department’s tender rules.

Mokonyane gave the water board the green light to contract LTE Consulting during the water crisis in Limpopo’s Mopani district municipality in 2014.

Mokonyane appointed a team under advocate Terry Motau to investigate this and other contracts. The Special Investigating Unit is also investigating the matter.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)