Johannesburg - Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana has referred allegations of corruption at a sectoral education and training authority (Seta) involving at least R13.7m to the Scorpions for further investigation.
He has also given the board of the Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Education Training Authority (Theta) two weeks from Wednesday to study a forensic report by the Auditor-General and act on its findings, failing which he would place the Seta under administration.
Mdladlana said the matter could not be left unattended.
"I'm really saddened by these events, these developments... In the meantime, we must ensure the law takes its course."
Mdladlana also criticised Theta's board, saying he did not understand its inaction since the matter was first reported to the department in October 2004.
The board includes high-profile figures such as the director-general of the South African Sports Commission Joe Phahla, SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union (Saccawu) president Amos Mothapa, African National Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry secretary general Buhle Mthethwa, and Association of South African Travel Agents chief executive Marion McPherson.
"They are senior members of the board. Why can't they deal with the matter?" said Mdladlana.
He added that the Theta board had a fiduciary responsibility, one they seemed to be neglecting.
"Maybe it will be a lesson to board members of Setas that they have a responsibility. It's easy to blame the minister of labour sometimes, even though he does not sit on these boards," Mdladlana said.
The minister also expressed his desire that the Scorpions deal firmly with anyone involved in fraud in this case and recover from them money that had been meant for training.