Department of Social Development to Address Feeding Schemes' Maladministration Case
An investigation by the Western Cape Provincial Government's Forensic Investigation Unit (FIU) has found that Masibambane Community Gardening and Nutrition Project as well as the Great Commission Minister's Network are in breach of several of its agreements with the Western Cape Department of Social Development.
The investigation also highlighted serious instances of maladministration in both Masibambane and the Great Commission's use of public funds, some of which, if proven, may constitute criminal activity under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2000.
The investigation drew attention to, amongst others, the following contraventions:
- An accurate list of beneficiaries being fed on a daily basis was not maintained.
- The investigation estimated that the number of beneficiaries being fed was grossly overstated, with the department paying for roughly 10 000 mouths to be fed, while in essence roughly 2 000 people were being fed.
- Complete and proper accounting records have not been maintained.
- Stock records were not maintained and subsequently there was a risk of stock purchased not being used for the intended purpose, or stock losses going undetected.
- Supporting documents in respect of purchases do not appear to be valid and invoices from one supplier seem to have been copied and pasted on to that of another supplier.
- There is also no record of employee tax being deducted from staff salaries, and this matter will be referred to SARS for further investigation.
This matter also raises the question of how department officials monitor the appropriation of public funds once payments have been made to beneficiaries. To this end, the investigation found that these breaches should have been identified by officials in the department, had they fulfilled their duties.
The Directorate Monitoring and Evaluation performed an assessment in February last year, and based on this assessment, recommended that there be further investigations into the financial records of Masibambane and that they not be considered for further funding in 2010/2011.
This report was followed up by an investigation by the Department's Internal Control Unit during May 2010, which resulted in a temporary suspension of funding to Masibambane.
The funding was subsequently re-instated, subject to Masibambane taking certain corrective measures, which included:
- No more issuing of cash cheques.
- Expenditure for the nutrition projects must be filed separately from that of other projects and verified periodically.
- Monthly reconciling and cash book systems must be implemented.
- Regular monitoring and site visits by the department.
None of these recommendations were followed and we have now instituted a disciplinary investigation relating to those officials tasked with monitoring the progress of Masibambane and Great Commission during the 2010/2011 financial year.
The Head of Department of Social Development will be handing over the findings of their investigation to the South African Police Service (SAPS) for criminal investigation as well as SARS for further investigation.
This administration is committed to clean governance and service delivery to all of the people of the Western Cape. In order to ensure that vulnerable individuals in the communities formerly served by Masibambane and Great Commission do not suffer as a result of this debacle, the Department of Social Development will be providing nutrition programmes in Khayelitsha through alternative service providers.