Gains Made in Rooting Out Corruption
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) President Jacob Zuma says South Africa is making progress in the fight against corruption, as evidenced by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) probes he has authorised in the last five years.
Between 2009 and 2014, the President signed 36 proclamations with five extensions authorising the SIU to probe departments and entities in the three spheres of government, including state-owned enterprises.
The Presidency on Tuesday said that nine investigations have been completed and reports have been submitted to the Presidency, while 27 investigations are still on-going. "The reports indicate that progress is being made in the fight against corruption within the public service and the actions taken should serve as a deterrent to other officials," said the Presidency.
Among the nine completed proclamations is Proclamation R.36 of 2010 in relation to the Department of Arts and Culture. The SIU investigated allegations which included the underspending or misspending of the department's budgets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup projects for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 financial years.
Seven criminal cases have been registered with the police involving matters amounting to R2 375 000 and acknowledgements of debt have been obtained to the total value of R351 000.
With regards to Proclamation R.58 of 2010 in relation to the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the SIU investigated allegations regarding SABC personnel, which included undisclosed or unauthorised conflicts of interest with service providers of the SABC.
A total of 28 criminal cases have been referred to the police, nine for fraud and 19 for the Contravention of Companies Act of 61 of 1973. In addition, 464 disciplinary cases have been referred to the SABC for recommended action.
The investigation in which the Eastern Cape Province directed the SIU to probe the procurement of goods and services, including leased accommodation by or on behalf of the Ikhala Further Education and Training College (Ikhala FET), the CEO and the Director of Internal Audit at the college were found guilty and dismissed.
In addition, the Internal Audit Director was charged with fraud and theft, and the Principal was charged with fraud and corruption. With Proclamation R.76 of 2010, which directed the probing of George Local Municipality in the Western Cape, the SIU investigated losses suffered by the municipality as a result of unlawful conduct or irregular practices by the municipality's personnel or persons or entities doing business with the municipality in relation to payments made to, or disposal of municipal land to the George Housing Agency or the corrupt benefitting as a result of the alienation of municipal property.
The Presidency said a criminal case against the Municipal Manager was referred to the National Prosecuting Authority, while it was also recommended that the municipality institute civil action against the Municipal Manager and the Legal Adviser for a loss to the value of R5.1 million to the municipality.
The SIU also investigated the procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the National Heritage Council within the Department of Arts and Culture. The investigations unit has referred two criminal cases of tender fraud to the police. In addition, recommendations were made for disciplinary charges to be instituted against eight staff members for non-compliance with statutes and regulations in both procurement and expenditure management at the National Heritage Council.
With regards to Proclamation R.3 of 2011 in relation to Stellenbosch Local Municipality in the Western Cape, the SIU probed the procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the municipality and related expenditure incurred by the municipality in an improper manner.
"The SIU has referred four criminal cases to the NPA and recommended disciplinary action against the officials, and also recommended that a civil matter be instituted by the municipality," said the Presidency.
It added that in terms of Proclamation R.6 of 2011, Oudtshoorn Local Municipality in the Western Cape, the SIU investigated the procurement of goods, works or services by or on behalf of the municipality and related expenditure incurred by the municipality in an improper manner.
The outcome is six criminal cases that were referred to the NPA, which led to three arrests. With regards to Proclamation R.37 of 2010 relating to the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape, the SIU investigated allegations, which include losses suffered by the department as a result of the mismanagement of its expenditure or through theft, fraud or other unlawful conduct and irregular practices of the staff of the department and third parties. The investigation into the Swellendam Local Municipality in the Western Cape involved allegations of maladministration in relation to the supply chain management systems of the municipality; management of the municipality's finances and assets; applications by developers for the development of the Swellengate and Swellenmark shopping centre developments and the municipality's approval of such applications, including the causes of such maladministration.
The SIU referred evidence to the NPA with regard to a municipal official and her spouse for fraud and corruption, with recommendations for disciplinary action against the official, according to the Presidency.
The SIU also recovered a total of R5 038 754, which was due to the department and saved the department R29 137 500 in losses. A total of 87 cases against officials were referred to the department for disciplinary action. Fourteen criminal cases were referred to the NPA, while 33 acknowledgement of debt agreements were obtained by the SIU, to the value of R2 921 001.
The Presidency said there were 27 investigations that were still being handled by the SIU.
These include probes into the North West Province Municipalities, Gauteng Department of Health, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Department of Public Works, South African Police Service (SAPS), KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Midvaal Local Municipality, the former Department of Roads and Transport in the Eastern Cape, Kopanong Local Municipality, Eskom Holdings Ltd, former Department of Local Government and Housing in Mpumalanga, Limpopo Province Intervention, State Information Technology Agency (SITA), former Department of Water Affairs, the Guardians Fund components of the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng offices of the Master of the High Court of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, among others.
There have also been extensions to some proclamations. The following extensions have been granted:
- Proclamation R.35 of 2010 extension: National Department of Housing;
- Proclamation R.73 of 2011 extension: South African Police Service (SAPS);
- Proclamation R.15 of 2012 extension: National Department of Housing;
- Proclamation R.14 of 2012 extension: Department of Education: Mpumalanga, and
- Proclamation R.49 of 2012 extension: Department of Public Works for the KwaZulu-Natal Province.
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