Mmabatho court wants action over financial irregularities in Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation
By Zelda Venter 31m ago
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Pretoria – The High Court in Mmabatho has ordered the Premier of the North West to within 14 days decide on steps he will take to implement recommendations in a forensic report regarding alleged financial irregularities in the Mmabana Arts, Culture and Sports Foundation.
This comes after the former head of human resources at the foundation, Phatolo Kau, blew the whistle in 2014. A forensic investigation followed and a subsequent report suggested the Hawks investigate the matter further.
Kau said in court papers the forensic report was issued to the Premier and the foundation in 2016. Despite the recommendation for further investigation, nothing came of the report.
He headed to the Mmabatho High Court for an urgent application to force the Premier and government to reveal whether they were going to act on the report.
At the time of heading human resources at the foundation, Kau brought certain irregularities to the attention of the Premier, after which the Premier requested an forensic investigation.
The private investigations company Nexus Forensic Services was appointed to undertake the investigation, which was finalised in August 2016, according to the company. It came to Kau’s attention that the Hawks should undertake a criminal investigation into the irregularities.
Kau contacted AfriForum’s private prosecution unit in 2019 after the Premier failed to reply to his letters to obtain access to the report in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
The unit also directed letters to the Premier and thereafter to President Cyril Ramaphosa. The foundation is a non-profit organisation responsible for the promotion and development of arts, culture and indoor artistic sport activities.
Kau said after he blew the whistle, the auditor-general found payments of more than R100m were made by the foundation without an approved budget. Yet, he said, nothing was done.
“The reality is stark, as immediate action may have prevented any further fruitless and wasteful, unauthorised or irregular expenditures.”
According to Wico Swanepoel, a prosecutor at AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, this was a simple case that could have been resolved easily by the Premier. He said the court application was the last resort because none of the respondents provided the report.
The prosecutor said whistle-blowers remained one of the most effective ways to identify and expose corruption. “These people must be supported and protected at all costs to ensure that others are also willing to come forward to expose corruption,” he said.