Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Public paid for CEO's funeral

Public paid for CEO's funeral

Mar 30, 2011

THE public forked out R240000 for the funeral of a chief executive officer of a parastatal in 2009.

Louis Selekane, the chief executive of the South African Diamond and Precious Metal Regulator, died in a car accident in May 2009. It emerged only yesterday that the parastatal paid for his funeral.
Chief executives of parastatals earn between R1,5million and R2million a year.
In reply to a parliamentary question yesterday, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said: "The board ratified the expenditure."
But the Public Finance Management Act defines this as "unauthorised expenditure".
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi expressed shock and described it as "pure corruption".
"Is the CEO a president or a government minister? Why was he given a state funeral? That is pure corruption. Parliament must pursue getting back that money or heads must roll, or both.
"CEOs earn such a lot of money. What about 1,7million workers who lost their jobs? What message is being sent to those people? That money must be recovered and action taken against whoever authorised that," Vavi said.
Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter also expressed shock. "It's shocking if its true," he said.
When asked by DA spokesperson on mineral resources, MP Eric Marais, if criminal or disciplinary steps had been taken against the person responsible for authorising the expenditure, Shabangu replied: "Not applicable".
Her spokesperson Musa Zondi said it was the parastatal board's prerogative to decide whether to spend the money on Selekane's funeral.
"The board, as an accounting authority, ratified the decision as it is their prerogative. The minister exercises oversight and does not micro-manage. So there is no need to take action," Zondi said.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu would not comment on the issue, saying matters raised in Parliament should be dealt through parliamentary structures.

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