Narissa Subramoney
Journalist
2 minute read
12 Sep 2021
1:32 pm

‘Everyone linked to Dirco’s New York land scandal must be fired’, says DA

Narissa Subramoney

The highly controversial R118 million irregular expenditure on the New York pilot project is at the center of this debacle.

Picture File: New York City, NYC, USA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants more heads to roll in the R118 million New York land scandal.

“We note the dismissal of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) director-general Kgabo Mohoai,” said DA spokesperson on international relations, Mergan Chetty, in a statement.

The party says CFO Caiphus Ramashau and other senior officials closely linked to the New York pilot project scandal must also be dismissed.

The highly controversial R118 million irregular expenditure on the New York Pilot Project is at the centre of this debacle. Five years ago, the Dirco squandered public money on a dilapidated building for the South African diplomatic missions in Manhattan, New York City.

“We further demand the recall of the then minister of Dirco, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Ambassador Jerry Matjila for their role in the scandal where a piece of land was bought for new offices that did not exist,” said Chetty.

It is believed that Mohoai was used as a sacrificial scapegoat to protect other senior officials and politicians closely connected to the political elite in the ANC.

ALSO READ: Former ambassador to the UN must account for the R118m New York land scandal, says the DA

"Everyone linked to New York land scandal must be fired"- DA
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor (Photo by Alet Pretorius/GALLO IMAGES)

The outcome of the investigation was leaked to the media two weeks ago when Minister Naledi Pandor was confronted in the portfolio committee.

“She misled the committee by saying the matter was not finalised. This after I read out the article stating that Mohoai was found “guilty of gross negligence, gross dereliction of duty and breach of legal obligation and grossly irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure” in the notorious land “deal”, said Chetty.

Minister Pandor released the very same verdict on Friday.

During his investigation, Mohoai stated that he was acting on instructions from the then Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

ALSO READ: Dirco’s botched R118 million New York project an ’embarrassment’ – Pandor

Before he was appointed ambassador to New York, the original “deal” was approved by his predecessor, Jerry Matjila.

Nkoana-Mashabane, and Ramashau, also motivated the deal to go ahead.

“Consequently, the DA demands that President Cyril Ramaphosa suspends Nkoana-Mashabane, under whose watch this New York Pilot Project and its shenanigans were initiated as she failed to exercise her executive oversight.

“We also demand that Ambassador Matjila, who was the Director-General during that period, should be recalled,” said Chetty.

After the recent riots, South Africa cannot afford any further embarrassment due to this scandal. “If the President is serious about rooting out corruption, he must place South Africa’s interests ahead of corrupt comrades,” concluded Chetty.