This emerged during the standing committee on public accounts [Scopa] meeting in the province on Monday.
Mokomele-Mothibi and six others, including Mavis Moeng, who has been referred to as her friend and does not work for the department, checked into a guest house from December 15 to 21 last year.
It also emerged that the travel agency that made the arrangements, Batsumi Travels, inflated their prices, charging the department an extra R35000.
Chris Hattingh, of the DA, also called for the matter to be referred to the police service’s commercial branch for investigation.
Mokomele-Mothibi yesterday “sincerely apologised” for the money spent on the trip and promised that the money would be paid back in seven days.
However, some of the committee members were far from impressed with her apology, with Congress of the People leader in the province Nikiwe Num accusing her of “running the department like spaza shop.
Referring to head of department Matshidiso Mogale and the chief financial officer Rocky Stander, Num said they were in a compromised position as they were not forthcoming with the truth. “By taking staff from her office, it is very clear that they were colluding, and people like that are not needed.”
Chairman of Scopa in the province Hlomane Chauke said Mokomele-Mothibi did not reveal the whole truth. “The MEC did not go into details, and it is quite clear that the truth is not out as the MEC did not come out openly,” he said.
Asked if it would be fair for her to step down as had been suggested by other committee members, Chauke said: “It will be fair. This is public money and she has to abide by the rules … and if she is breaking the law, proper action must be taken,” he said.
At the time of posting, Social Department spokesperson had not responded as they were attending the NW State of the Province Address.