KwaZulu-Natal DA opens corruption case against arts and culture head of dept

The DA has laid criminal charges against the head of the arts and culture department in KwaZulu-Natal.

DA MPL Bradley Singh and provincial leader Francois Rodgers

DA MPL Bradley Singh and provincial leader Francois Rodgers DA KZN

The DA in KwaZulu-Natal has opened a criminal case against the provincial arts and culture department head (HOD) for alleged corruption.

DA MPL Bradley Singh opened the case at the Durban Central police station on Thursday against HOD Ntokozo Chonco.

Singh alleges that construction-related tenders were awarded to contractors at inflated prices for the construction of eight modular libraries. This, with funding specifically allocated for Covid-19, Singh said.

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Tractor-loader backhoes (TLBs), and roller and tipper trucks were paid for but never used because the tenders were awarded during the country’s hard lockdown when work was restricted, Singh further alleged.

In addition, personal protective equipment for the libraries was bought but never used because the libraries weren’t built, he added.

He also accused the department of paying to hire Covid-19 compliance officers who did not perform their duties.

He said Chonco signed off on the tenders, making him responsible for the alleged misuse of the money.

Singh said the department was aware of the lockdown but continued to use taxpayers’ money to pay for equipment and personnel “despite the reality that it would not be used”.

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He called for officials to be held accountable for squandering millions while the province’s artists, who were hard hit during the pandemic, did not get any help from the department.

He said:

Almost two years have passed since this budget was approved, and still these modular libraries are not operational. Instead, they have become white elephants that are of no use to the surrounding communities.

When asked to comment, the department only said the law should take its course.

“The Department of Arts and Culture has noted the statement by the DA, and we respect their right to take whatever action. We will allow the law to run its course.”