MEC had full knowledge of fund transfer says Mogajane

Former North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NW DARD) head of department, Dr Kgabi Mogajane denied any wrongdoing with regard to the procurement of Grain SA’s (GSA) services.

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Mogajane was dismissed after she was found guilty of, among other things, financial misconduct when she awarded a contract worth R132 million to GSA, to assist emerging farmers with grain production in the Lichtenburg area of the province. According to Mogajane, she awarded the contract to the Grain SA Farmer Development Programme, as it was one of the most successful development programmes in the country.

She said Grain SA provided mentorship, training and other technical support to farmers and was the sole provider of such a programme in terms of grain production. “The same programme has been implemented in the Free State,” said Mogajane.
In awarding the contract, as it was already late in the year with planting season looming, Mogajane said she relied on the provisions of National Treasury Practice Note 8 of 2007/2008 as Grain SA was the sole service provider.

She said she further relied on the provisions of National Treasury Practice Note 11 of 2008/2009. Mogajane said as the accounting officer, she considered this an unsolicited bid in terms of practice note 8 and 11 of the Public Finance Management Act. In addition, Mogajane said the funds used for the programme were for the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (Casp), transferred to the Province in terms of the Division of Revenue Act (Dora).

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In terms of Dora, Mogajane would have sought permission from the national transferring officer before allocating funds to Grain SA. “I requested permission from the national transferring officer and we also informed the provincial treasury, but I was still found guilty and dismissed,” said Mogajane. She said she found it strange that she was charged with financial misconduct when the province’s agriculture MEC, Desbo Mohono, knew about this prior to the awarding of the contract.

In June 2012, in her budget vote speech, Mohono said the department was planning to rehabilitate silos in Springbokpan, Vryhof and Kraaipan which have a total storage capacity of 230 000t. This, according to her, was in line with government’s new Zero Hunger approach, to revitalise the grain storage and marketing infrastructure initiatives. “In rehabilitating them, we shall work closely with the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Agricultural Marketing Council and Grain South Africa,” Mohono said then.

The MoU with Grain SA was signed on 19 July 2012 and the contract was awarded later in the year. Mogajane said her lawyers have since filed an application with the Bargaining Council and were waiting for a date to be set to deal with her dismissal. The department did not respond at the time of going to print.