Parly orders probe into North West's R100m animal donation

24 April 2018 - 13:32
By Thabo Mokone
Supra Ramoeletsi Mahumapelo.
Image: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Tiro Ramatlhatse Supra Ramoeletsi Mahumapelo.

Two parliamentary committees have ordered the national treasury and the auditor general to probe how the North-West provincial government spent R100-million on gifting "high value species" to private individuals.

The decision was taken on Tuesday morning during a joint meeting of the portfolio committee on environmental affairs and the select committee on land and mineral resources.

This comes just after the Sunday Times revealed this past weekend how North West premier Supra Mahumapelo allegedly gave former president Zuma 24 cows and a bull as a gift worth R1.5-million in October 2016.

This was at a time when the North West provincial department of rural‚ environmental and agriculture development was spending R100-million on a donation of "high value" to the South African Rare Game Breeders Holdings (SARGBH).

ANC MP and chairperson of the portfolio committee on environmental affairs Philemon Mapulane said the committee has now resolved to revive their report on the matter after they decided to involve their counterparts from the National Council of Provinces‚ which is responsible for overseeing the affairs of provincial government departments.

Mapulane said their decision would be sent to the houses of parliament - the NCOP and the National Assembly -some time this week or next week for ratification before the national treasury and the auditor-general could intervene.

He said the R100-million was just the tip of the iceberg as they suspected that some criminal elements had been involved in the 2016 transaction.

Mapulane said they wanted the entire R100-million transaction to be reversed with monies recovered from all government officials involved because it breached the public finance management act.

"At the crux of what we've recommended to be adopted by the house is that the whole transaction has to be reversed because the donation was not done in line with the requirements of the PFMA. Therefore we want parliament to direct the department and the relevant authorities to reverse this donation with immediate effect.

"We're also recommending that because of prima facie evidence of anomalies that took place and the possible violation of the PFMA that took place‚ the auditor-general and the national treasury must investigate this donation for possible financial irregularities‚ which investigation may result in a finding that the cost of the reversal must be recovered from the persons involved‚ which is the MEC or the accounting officer or both‚ and the relevant entity that might have been involved.

"We're also requesting the national treasury and the auditor-general to report back to us within the next three months."

"We're also saying that the legal services (of parliament) must give us an opinion within the next 30 days on the steps that must be taken against individuals‚ because there's evidence that the committee was misled regarding the donation‚ especially in relation to the game donation policy‚ because we were told that it was done in relation to a valid game donation policy. It later transpired that there was no such policy."