Mathabatha under fire over ‘rogue’ head of department

Pressure is mounting on Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha to act against the province’s public works head of department (HOD), Timothy Seroka, who is facing allegations of making fraudulent travel claims to the tune of more than R11 000.

This week, Mathabatha’s office confirmed to Sunday World that he has appointed an investigator to probe the matter.

The matter of allegations against HOD is the subject of consultations Premier probes fraudulent claims

“The premier is aware of the allegations levelled against the HOD for the department of public works, roads and infrastructure and has since appointed an investigator to look into the matter. Processes will unfold as dictated to by relevant labour prescripts,” spokeswoman Mamogo Ntuli said.

“Heads of departments, in terms of the legislation, by definition are accounting officers of their respective provincial departments. Their  appointments and termination thereof are the competence of the premier,” she added.

Seroka wields significant power in the province as his department carries out big infrastructure projects of almost all departments and entities of the provincial government.

Mathabatha’s response came after Cosatu affiliate Nehawu wrote to him earlier this month demanding action be taken against Seroka.

Nehawu provincial secretary Jacob Adams said in the leŒ er to Mathabatha that they are “ profoundly devastated by the manner the honourable premier of the province has put his head in the sand for a long period since the damning travelling claim” surfaced.

Seroka is accused of claiming petrol money for a Mercedes- Benz ML350 when he actually used a Renault Sandero 1.4. On Friday, Adams cried foul over Mathabatha’s handling of Seroka’s matter, questioning why he was being investigated while still in office.

Adams called for the immediate suspension of Seroka, failing which workers would take to the streets. “The union will stand up [if Mathabatha doesn’t act on Seroka]. We will unleash our members; there will be  re,” he warned.

The department said it was also aware of the allegations against Seroka and was working with Mathabatha’s office on the matter. “The department is not aware of Nehawu writing to the premier. Our department is in consultation with the o˜ ce of the premier regarding the subject in connection with the HOD.

The whole matter of allegations against the HOD is a subject of consultation and discussion between our department and the office of the premier,” the department’s Mamoshashe Mabotha said.

By George Matlala

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