The IFP today expressed its concern with the latest negative media report about the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities following two exposés by the Sunday Independent.
However, the situation is hardly surprising.
On the 10th of October 2012, when Minister Lulu Xingwana appeared in front of the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, she presented with her Annual Report, the Department's turn-around strategy as well as a copy of the Fluxman report into serious transgressions with regard to staff appointments, payments for overtime and resettlement costs, dishonesty, non-declaration of interests during recruitment and other violations and transgressions within the Department.
Minister Xingwana reported that these contributed immensely to the current overspending, and the lack of expertise in the Department. They had thus directly and negatively affected performance.
Minister Xingwana further stated that the former Director-General, former Chief Financial Officer and senior officials in Human Resource and Resource Management Directorate were found to have been grossly negligent. Three of the eight senior staffs who were implicated in the investigative report left the Department, and disciplinary measures were commenced against the remaining five.
When members of the Committee wanted to interrogate the report, both in the Portfolio Committee and in front of the Appropriations Committee, debate around the issue was shut down as the report was "sub judice".
Even today, I note that in the PMG report, nowhere does it make any reference to the Fluxman report, when the Minister clearly referred to it.
Moreover, allegations today that the Minister flouted supply chain management procedures to appoint Fluxmans Attorneys, also comes as a surprise, since the Minister reported to the Portfolio Committee that the correct procedures were followed.
The IFP has always commended Minister Xingwana for her frankness about the critical challenges within her Department, as well as putting forward a comprehensive turnaround strategy. However, now that serious questions are again being raised about the Department within the public domain, the IFP is of the opinion that it is time for all those involved in the management of this Department - both the current executive as well as the previous Director-General and her team - to come clean on the allegations that have been levelled against them.
Clearly, there are too many unanswered questions. The taxpayers, the public at large, and more importantly, the most vulnerable sectors of our society - women, children and people with disabilities - whom this Department is supposed to serve, deserve answers.
MS LIEZL VAN DER MERWE MP
IFP SPOKESPERSON ON WOMEN, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES