War of words erupts between Public Works Minister & Scopa over CFO post
Scopa’s investigation into the appointment of Boitumelo Cox Mokgoro has been suspended due to procedural flaws in how it handled a report on the matter by the Public Service Commission.
CAPE TOWN - A war of words has erupted between the Ministry of Public Works and Parliament's watchdog over the public purse, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa).
Scopa’s investigation into the appointment of the department's chief financial officer Boitumelo Cox Mokgoro has been suspended due to procedural flaws in how it handled a report on the matter by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi says while he respects the decision, it deprives him, Mokgoro and the department of the chance to respond to what he says are unfounded and highly prejudicial allegations.
Nxesi says he’s now taking legal advice with a view to take Scopa’s process on judicial review, but Scopa chairperson Themba Godi has hit back.
Nxesi says while it’s Parliament’s job to hold the executive to account, he’s concerned about the “real and unfounded” reputational damage done to him, his department and Mokgoro without them being able to reply to the allegations.
Scopa was ordered by House committees chairperson Cedric Frolick to immediately stop its probe as it flouted parliamentary procedure in asking the PSC to investigate.
Nxesi says the allegations against Mokgoro are orchestrated and part of a fight-back by corrupt syndicates in his department after he launched two investigations into alleged wrongdoing.
But Godi says the unprecedented threat of legal action is a bid to cover up malfeasance and that the committee won’t be hindered in its work.
He says Nxesi and Mokgoro must still account and that he’ll seek clarity from the Speaker’s office on how the PSC’s report on Mokgoro’s appointment should be dealt with.
(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)