Official suspended for R1,1m grant

Paul Mogotlhe, the North West agriculture official reported in the Mail & Guardian to have authorised a R1,1-million government grant to himself, has been suspended. His boss, provincial agriculture minister Jan Serfontein, is also in the firing line.

The North West legislature has asked the auditor general to investigate Mogotlhe’s claim that he declared the grant and Serfontein approved it.

In a management report in September the auditor general said the department had also awarded contracts worth R2,5-million to Serfontein’s Smokey Mountain Trading and bought chickens worth more than R480 000 from his company, Serfontein Kuikens.

Last week a furious provincial legislature unanimously voted for Mogo­tlhe’s suspension and a probe by the auditor general. DA leader Chris Hattingh tabled the motion after reading the M&G story.

Mogotlhe tried to head off the legislature debate by threatening legal action.

Serfontein told the legislature his department would investigate the claims, but members felt the department could not investigate itself. Hattingh then asked for Serfontein’s suspension.

Only North West Premier Edna Molewa can suspend Serfontein and the pair are understood to be close.

Serfontein said this week that Smokey Mountain Trading was an empowerment company he helped to establish. He said he was a director of the company, but resigned after he was appointed to his current position. He denied that he had a direct interest or shareholding in Serfontein Kuikens, adding that he had never held any directorship or managerial position in the company.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories


press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday