Millions of drought relief money squandered

More than R200 million of drought relief funds were squandered by the provincial government in Natal. The funds were meant for subsistence farmers after the province was declared a disaster area following a crippling drought in 2015.

Farmers were supposed to use the money for water harvesting‚  scooping of dams, rehabilitation of boreholes and provision of stock-feed. A report into the probe has not been made public, but the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has now brought the matter to the table. The provincial government’s new budget is R2 billion. “The IFP believes that it is high time for the MEC to be tough on corruption,” the party said. “She must safeguard the public purse in the department of agriculture.”

In another forensic report commissioned by former agriculture MEC Meshack Radebe, after R60-million meant to assist emerging farmers in rural areas had not been accounted for in 2012, had not been released despite being completed in 2014.

In a public statement, the IFP said, “We are extremely concerned that delays appear to be deliberate, undue and unreasonable, and we condemn this lack of progress.The delay in identifying the perpetrators and masterminds behind the alleged corrupt activities is undermining the public’s trust in the government. We demand proper, fair and time-bound investigations in this province. Justice delayed is justice denied.”