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ANC CONCERNED AT LACK OF PROGRESS WITH INVESTIGATION

ANC CONCERNED AT LACK OF PROGRESS WITH INVESTIGATION

Sunday 7th February 1999

Background

The standing committee on public accounts (SCOPA) in the Western Cape, under the Chairpersonship of Tasneem Essop MPL, is currently discussing the Auditor General's report on the accounts of the Western Cape Provincial Government for the 1996/97 financial year.

Last week the committee dealt with the accounts of the Education Department.

ANC members on the committee have been outraged at the lack of progress by OSEO concerning unauthorised expenditure by the former House of Representatives (HOR) Education Department amounting to over R21 million on literacy programmes. Abe Williams, NP MP in the National Assembly and former Minister of Welfare and Peter Saaiman, now NP leader in the Northern Cape were Education Ministers for the House of Reps in the early 1990's. In a reply to the committee Dr Niel Barnard, Director General and accounting officer for the province, said that the Western Cape Education Department had sent a letter to OSEO on 27 October 1998 requesting a report on progress. Dr Barnard says that OSEA's reply indicates that this matter is part of a "COMPREHENSIVE INVESTIGATION" and that the matter was "RECEIVING PRIORITY ATTENTION".

Commenting on the issue, ANC MPL AND MEMBER OF SCOPA, LYNNE BROWN SAID: "The slow pace of the OSEO investigation is a disgrace. This unauthorised expenditure happened in 1992, over seven years ago. The public still does not know what happening to this money. Of greater concern is the possibility that senior officials from the old House of Reps who could be implicated, continue to hold office in the Western Cape Administration.

"The ANC will be proposing that the committee calls OSEO to account on progress in regard to this and other outstanding matters. If we are not satisfied with the replies we will consider calling on the Health Commission to take over the investigation into allegations of corruption in the former House of Reps administration."

Issued by the African National Congress -  Western Cape.

For further comment contact Cameron Dugmore on 082 894 7553 or 418 4616 code 7131.

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