Social development forks out millions for officials sitting at home

The KwaZulu-Natal department of social development has revealed that it has forked out more than R14-million paying salaries of suspended officials.

The officials were implicated in what became known as the Covid-19 blanket saga, which turned into a looting frenzy.

A forensic investigation made damning findings, revealing that thousands of blankets which were purchased to be distributed across the various shelters in the province were lying in a storage facility.

About R15-million was spent on the fruitless project.

The shenanigans took place during the height of Covid-19 in 2020, where thousands of blankets were purchased, but only 4 892 of the batch was distributed.

“The department is doing everything within its powers to expedite the finalisation of the misconduct hearings,” said head of department Nelly Vilakazi.

“Twelve officials were recommended to be charged with misconduct. Charges against the nine have been finalised. The remaining hearing against three is scheduled for 19 June to 7 July.”

She was responding to a parliamentary question by DA MPL Mmabatho Tembe.

Following the revelation, the DA came out guns blazing and said the officials should have forfeited their salaries and benefits.

“KwaZulu-Natal’s DSD [department of social development] is already struggling on every front, with inadequate funding to deal with the vast number of social ills plaguing our province,” said the party on Tuesday.

“This R14-million could have been used to establish more gender-based violence shelters in KZN, as this scourge remains at all-time highs. This includes fixing or buying more vehicles for social workers, so that they can provide services to our communities.”


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