Department of Tourism ‘erroneously’ pays R13m to dead relief fund beneficiaries

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The Department of Tourism Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu has revealed that her department incorrectly paid out more than R13 million via its Tourism Relief Fund and the Relief Fund for Tourist Guides.

This was in response to Democratic Alliance parliamentary questions. 

HOW DID THE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM ‘BLOW’ R13M?

The DA said there appears to have been major deficiencies and a lack of controls in the issuing of funds to beneficiaries of both funds during the hard lockdown period. 

DA shadow minister of tourism, Manny de Freitas said payments were made from the funds without proper checks to ensure that funds were paid to only qualifying beneficiaries.

According to the DA, further parliamentary replies indicated that one Tourism Relief Fund beneficiary and 26 Relief Fund for Tourist Guides beneficiaries were paid twice.

Of the Relief Fund for Tourist Guides, 17 deceased beneficiaries were paid R4 500 each. In addition, the following incorrect payments were made from the same fund, namely:

  • 273 payments were made to social grant beneficiaries
  • 1350 payments were made to Unemployment Insurance Fund beneficiaries
  • 58 payments were made to persons in the employ of the State
  • 1172 payments were made to persons with invalid or incorrect identity numbers

De Freitas said it is shocking that the Tourism Department was not able to confirm a simple identity number or whether a person was alive or not during the application and payment process. 

“Considering that there are hundreds of tour guides that suffered and continue to suffer incredible economic hardships, it is unacceptable that this was allowed to happen by the department. This is yet another example of millions of rands lost thanks to ill-qualified ANC-cadre deployees who administer taxpayers’ money,” he said

Sisulu reportedly indicated that her department will investigate this matter and conclude the investigation by April 2022.

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