Public Protector gives Bapo-Ba-Mogale community a progress report on her investigation

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Saturday visited the Bapo-Ba-Mogale community near Brits in the North West to present a progress report on an investigation into allegations of systematic looting of the collective resources of the community, primarily funds being held in the so-called “D account”.

The investigation also touches on whether all of the royalty payments due to the community from mining company, Lonmin, and other businesses mining on community land were paid. In addition, the Public Protector is investigating the alleged abuse of resources relating to the construction of Kgosi Edward Mogale's palace.

The latest visit comes about two months after Adv. Madonsela's last update report to the community on the matter. At the time, she undertook to provide the community with a final report before she leaves the office.

Addressing the community at a local hall, Adv. Madonsela reported that great progress had been made in the investigation since the last visit. She indicated that information on accounts involved and people paid had been found. However, the verification of who was paid, whether there was value for money and whether proper procurement processes were followed was incomplete.

Adv. Madonsela explained that it had taken time for her office to procure the services of experts needed to help her with the verification of data relating to the management of the Bapo account, which were administered by the North West government.

She reported that forensic auditor Mr.Godfrey Rangongo and quantity surveyor Mr Andre Moolman were only appointed in September 2016 and would conclude their work in three months, meaning there could not be a final report at this stage.

"We have come to give you a progress report. The final report will only be ready by December 2016 or, the latest, by January 2017," she said. "We will, however, give you an exit report on Friday, October 14, 2016."

The Public Protector explained that the exit report would only contain what was known at his stage, including information contained in the documents and evidence received from respondents since the beginning of the investigation as well as what is to happen going forward.

She confirmed that on her last visit to the community in July she had reported that the community had R721 000 to its name by the time the Auditor-General audited its account in 1994. She added that, over the past two decades, the funds in the account rose to a total of R617million, made up of R392million in deposits and R224million in interest earned. By 2014, the balance in the account had dropped to just over R495 000. She reported that the investigation has revealed that R7.7 million had been spent on the palace, with R3 million alone spent on the decor.

Adv. Madonsela further informed the community that new royalties from Lonmin and others, no longer got into the D-Account since the establishment of the Bapo-ba-Mogale Investment Company. She said the company had since received R80 million from royalties and its business operations. The company, which she said was going through an audit, had borrowed a little over R100million from the Public Investment Corporation, which meant it was in debt.

The visit also formed part of the annual National Good Governance Week (NGGW), which Adv. Madonsela launched on Tuesday. The week entailed, amongst other things, a two-day, high level conference which took place at Gallagher Estate in Midrand on Wednesday and Thursday under the theme "People-Centered Clean Governance".

Participants included Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Lechesa Tsenoli; Chair of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, Ms Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva; Executive Director of Corruption Watch, Mr David Lewis; Chief Procurement Officer: National Treasury, Mr Kenneth Brown; Western Cape Police Ombudsman, Adv. Vusi Pikoli, President of the International Ombudsman Institute (global body of Public Protectors), Namibian Ombudsman, Adv. John Walters and Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela.

Delegates at the conference resolved to strengthen complementary oversight over those entrusted with public power by improving synergy and consolidating collaboration and support between national oversight bodies and other integrity mechanisms such as the National Anti-Corruption Task Team

They further resolved to contribute to the development and implementation of a National Accountability/Consequences Management Framework for the mismanagement of public power. They also identified the education of the public on the importance good governance as means of accountability.

Delegates further resolved to ensure the promotion and encouragement of ethical, purposeful, impactful and committed leadership by, amongst other things, emphasising and exploring initiatives for building genuine and substantial political will to enhance public participation in governance processes.

In addition, they resolved to support structural reforms to promote the integrity of public procurement systems. This will be done through, amongst other things, focusing on proactive and reactive recourse systems and oversight mechanism to deal with grievances and irregularities.

The key objective of the NGGW and Conference is to strengthen synergies among integrity sector institutions and other role players involved in promoting good governance while combating maladministration and others forms of improper conduct in state affairs.

For more information, contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Spokesperson
Public Protector South Africa
Cell: 079 507 0399
Email: kgalalelom@pprotect.org
www.publicprotector.org

Published Date: 
Sunday, October 9, 2016