By Kaya 959 Reporter
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has fired a second senior official over a controversial R118 million land deal.
Caiphus Ramashau, a chief financial officer at Dirco, was fired on Tuesday.
“This follows the conclusion of the disciplinary case instituted against him. Mr Ramashau faced charges related to irregular expenditure incurred by the department on an unsuccessful project to purchase a piece of land in New York to accommodate South Africa’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and New York Consulate,” the department said.
Ramashau’s axing comes after the department fired its director-general, Kgabo Mahoai.
The deal came to light in October last year, when officials were accused of paying R118m to purchase land to build office space and for accommodation but the land did not exist.
News24 reported MPs travelled to New York where they realised there was no piece of land.
The report said since 2014, Dirco had been paying a monthly rental of over R4 million for its two missions in New York. To cut costs, the department in 2017 took a decision to build or acquire its own properties to house missions in New York and across the world.
Both Mahoai and Ramashau were slapped with disciplinary action before being fired.
The DA has welcomed the officials’ dismissal.
“We still believe that there are more senior officials and politicians who are closely connected to the political elite in the ANC, who also need to face the chop,” said DA Shadow Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Mergan Chetty.
Chetty said they are still calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend both Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane — under whose watch this New York Pilot Project were initiated — and Ambassador Jerry Matjila, who was the Director-General during that period.