Services Seta execs could be charged
SENIOR executives for the Services sectoral education and training authority (Services Seta) could be charged by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for their failure to account for missing millions.
The whistle was blown by Terrence Nombembe, the auditor-general, in his report last year that the largest Seta - with an annual budget of about R1bn - cannot provide adequate documentation for 28 procurement contracts valued at R16m.
The AG said at the time that his report outlines the things that reflect badly on the management (of the Services Seta), and that he suspected the contents of the report were only the tip of the iceberg. Apart from tender irregularities, the other allegation is that eight executives, including CEO Ivor Blumenthal, shared R40m among themselves, approving this without informing the board.
Yesterday NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga confirmed to the Sunday World that the Hawks had completed their investigation and given the report to the NPA for a decision to charge the executives.
"Prosecutors are still studying the case docket and investigations are at an advanced and sensitive stage," Mhanga said.
Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande (pictured) under whose portfolio the Setas fall, said the report of the auditor-general on this particular Seta was damning and showed conflicts of interest on the part of the the CEO in the manner he had handled some things.
"Our view is that the matter should be speeded up.
"A case was opened with the Hawks in May last year and now the report is with the NPA.
"The allegations are serious - how can executives share such an amount without being authorised by the board," Nzimande said.
He added that since he had taken control of all 23 Setas, fighting corruption and making them effective had improved.
"There is lots of improvement but we still have a long way to go. We are beginning to turn the system around," Nzimande said.
The Services Seta took Nzimande to court last year after his decision that the Seta's bank account be forfeited to the National Skills Authority.
But the court ruled against Nzimande, saying allegations of financial mismanagement made by Nzimande against Blumenthal and the Seta council under which Blumenthal operated were unfounded.