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Millions wasted in traffic management

Jul 29 2010 03:15

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Pretoria - The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) wasted millions of rands in mismanagement, irregular procurement and over-expenditure, among others, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Thursday.

Ndebele told journalists one of the key findings of an investigation into allegations of mismanagement at the RTMC was an irregular lease agreement of R658m over 10 years, which resulted in an actual loss of R11m.

"According to the task team, the total value of confirmed irregular expenditure actually incurred at the RTMC is currently estimated at R144m,  said Ndebele.

The task team was appointed on February 8 to investigate allegations of mismanagement, as well as issues relating to leadership, governance, business and finance at the RTMC under former CEO Ranthoko Rakgoale.

"Mr Rakgoale was subsequently suspended and Mr Collins Letsoalo, deputy director general: financial services at the department of transport, was appointed acting CEO," said Ndebele.

Riah Phiyega, former group executive for Absa Group [JSE:ASA] and Transnet who chaired the task team, outlined the report, saying allegations included that eNaTIS transaction fees were used to fund over-expenditure, irregular purchases of IT "infrastructure" (R11m) and an accident reporting system (R85m over a two-year period).

The project was stopped which resulted in a confirmed loss of R65m.

It was also alleged there had been irregular contracting of suppliers for an IT help desk and internet management system at R9m.

The team confirmed R300m of the eNaTIS fees were used to fund over-expenditure.

"This money was not stolen. The findings relate to not following directives to transfer money to the department of transport (DOT), and knowingly using dedicated resources inappropriately," says Phiyega in the report.

Irregular spending

The report also confirmed irregular spending of R9m on the hosting of an international conference in Cape Town, substantially in excess of the budget, which was considered fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Other findings included the unauthorised expenditure of R1.4m as well as VAT abuses, and R13.3m spent on unnecessary financial management services.

It also partially confirmed the irregular contracting of suppliers, to the value of R3m, for the evaluation of Electronic Vehicle Identification technology of which the deliverables were questionable, and the awarding of a bid of R34m for an Enterprise Resource Planning system which was inappropriate for an organisation the size of the RTMC.

The report, which was handed to Ndebele on Tuesday, made several corrective recommendations, which included a review of the RTMC Act and steps to be taken to rectify a funding shortfall in the organisation.

Letsoalo said besides Rakgoale, two other employees were suspended who were linked to these problems, while another had been suspended for a separate matter.

Ndebele said criminal and civil cases would be instituted against guilty employees and suppliers of the RTMC.

"Those found guilty of such offences are liable on conviction to a fine, dismissal or imprisonment," he said.

He would not say how many employees were involved, however, as disciplinary proceedings still had to take place.

In the report Phiyega said civil action may be taken against suppliers to recoup losses, but no court papers, civil or criminal, had been filed yet.

  - Sapa


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