/ 1 August 2012

DA asks public protector to probe Xingwana’s department

Minister for Women
Minister for Women

Democratic Alliance MP Helen Lamoela said on Wednesday the party initially made a submission to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) about what she termed the department's skewed spending priorities.

"The SAHRC has subsequently informed us that our complaint would be best dealt with by the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office, as the [department's] failure to spend its budgets and deliver tangible outcomes in its programme for people with disabilities amounts to maladministration rather than a direct violation of human rights," she said in a statement.

Madonsela's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said the DA's submission to the public protector was still being assessed and an announcement would be made on Tuesday.

Department spokesperson Cornelius Monama said, "We are confident that the report of the public protector will vindicate us and serve as an education tool for Ms Lamoela, who clearly does not understand the mandate and performance of the department."

He said the department would not "dignify" Lamoela's statements with a public response.

"Our response to the specific allegations made by Ms Lamoela will be submitted directly to the public protector at an appropriate time."

Lamoela said the DA, in its submission, presented evidence of poor financial and administrative management of the department.

The submission included:

  • 66% underspending in the "Rights of People with Disabilities" programme;
  • overspending in the "Administration" Programme – with reports to the standing committee on appropriations indicating that this programme has already spent 107% of its budget by the third quarter of 2011/12;
  • overspending of 112% on employees' salaries; and
  • lavish spending on overseas trips, with the department spending R6.8-million for a two-week trip to New York for a delegation of 49 officials in February 2011.

"We hope that the public protector's investigation brings light to the inefficiencies within the [department] and the limited benefit that vulnerable communities have enjoyed from the programmes of this department," she said. – Sapa