Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
4 Oct 2021
6:33 pm

Dirco CFO dismissed over botched New York land project

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor has slammed the project as an 'embarrassment', after R118 million was paid for land that doesn't exist.

Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor during the Ministers brief to South Africa and the media about interventions against the Corona virus outbreak at DIRCO in Pretoria. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/GALLO IMAGES)

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has terminated its employment relationship with Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Caiphus Ramashau.

This follows the conclusion of the disciplinary case instituted against him related to irregular expenditure incurred by the department on an unsuccessful project to purchase a piece of land in New York (USA) to accommodate South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and New York Consulate, said the department in a statement.

In October last year it was determined the piece of land meant to house South Africa’s diplomats did not exist, following a fact-finding mission to New York, carried out by MPs in December 2019.

News24 reported at the time that the R118 million paid for the land was paid on the basis of “a misrepresentation to the department the estate agent had bought land to build a suitable and sustainable office building”.

Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor has since slammed the failed project as an “embarrassment”.

Last month, the director-general of the department, Kgabo Mohoai, was dismissed following the fruitless and wasteful expenditure for the New York Pilot Project scandal.

In a statement, the Democratic Alliance (DA) commended the decision, and also demanded that Ramashau and other senior officials who were closely linked to the New York Pilot Project scandal, face the same fate as Mohoai.

It further demanded that President Cyril Ramaphosa suspend Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, under whose watch this New York Pilot Project was initiated.

“After the recent riots, South Africa cannot afford any further embarrassment due to this scandal. If the President is serious about rooting out corruption, then he must place the interest of South Africa ahead of his corrupt comrades,” said the party.