by Ismail Obaray – DA Spokesperson of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform
Date: 20 September 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA is calling on the Northern Cape MEC of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform, Norman Shushu, to publicly account for the way in which the R25 million drought relief funding that was declared in December 2016, was spent in the Northern Cape.
This comes after revelations that the Hartswater-based ‘tenderpreneur’, who secured the contract for the supply and distribution of fodder to drought stricken farmers in the Northern Cape, allegedly bought himself a R2 million Bentley shortly after doing business with the Agriculture Department.
It is suspected that ANC cadre, Emmanuel Thabes Setloboko, who unsuccessfully contested Ward 6 in Phokwane Municipality during the 2016 local government elections, may have pocketed about R7 million intended for drought relief.
Setloboko, who is listed as the director of Stanch Trading, is believed to have inflated the price of drought pellets, charging R280 per bag of pellets that are actually valued at just R177 per bag. In this way, Setloboko was able to make a profit of R100 on each of the 73 000 bags that he sold to the department.
This means that, of the R20.44 million spent on feed for starving animals, only about R13 million achieved value for money.
It is unconscionable that the ANC has allowed funds that were strictly meant to prevent livestock from dying a torturous death, to fill the pockets of a single connected individual.
An additional 42 000 bags of pellets could have brought relief to thousands of livestock, had the Agriculture Department been true to the call of disaster management.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the ANC has become totally unscrupulous. It cares about nothing other than enriching its circle of elitist cronies, who swoop like vultures on any opportunity to siphon money, no matter how noble or how necessary the cause it is intended for may be.
The DA previously wrote to MEC Shushu requesting a breakdown of how the drought relief funding was allocated. We have escalated this call in another letter, specifically questioning the inflated prices charged by the service provider. In addition to this, we also want clarity on allegations that the wrong type of feed, in the form of fattening pellets that have little to no nutritional value for starving animals, was wrongly procured by the service provider.
The DA will continue to probe this matter in upcoming portfolio committee meetings scheduled at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature. It simply cannot be that emergency funds are allowed to be used to create a luxury playground for the rich, while food security is on the line.
DA Spokesperson of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform
082 380 2128
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387