SA Tourism recovers R35m in irregular payments

  • Following a review of SA Tourism, irregular payments to a media agency were discovered.
  • These payments were approved by the chief financial officer, chief operations officer and the acting chief executive officer who are no longer at SA Tourism.
  • To date, R35 million has been recovered by SA Tourism.

Toward the end of the 2023 financial year, SA Tourism caught wind of a number of irregular invoices that were processed piecemeal to circumvent banking controls. Thankfully, the funds from these invoices were returned.

The payments, says the Department of Tourism, were processed from the USA and local SA Tourism offices by executives no longer working at the organisation. A “significant” portion of those payments were to a media agency which was paid for work it had not yet done. These payments were signed off by the chief financial officer, chief operations officer and the acting chief executive officer.

The Department of Tourism says that when it contacted the agency, it conceded that they were paid for services they had not rendered.

‘These irregular payments are completely shocking and it is unacceptable that officials entrusted with public funds continue to act with such contempt of public finance laws and regulations. We will not leave this matter unaccounted for. The internal audit report is being finalised and the matter has also been reported to the Auditor General of South Africa to investigate,” Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille said in a statement.

The irregular payments were discovered during a review by SA Tourism. Upon discovering this, the organisation contacted the media agency and requested it pay back the money. So far, R35 million has been returned to its account.

“We are relieved that all the money has been recovered from the irregular payments. I can also confirm that Auditor General of South Africa is in the process of finalising a delegation from the AG’s office to do an audit on the SA Tourism New York office,” said de Lille.

While it’s great that the organisation could recover these funds, we shudder to think what would have happened if there hadn’t been a review and the media agency hadn’t been as forthcoming as it had been. We suspect SA Tourism would still be chasing those funds.


About Author


Related News