15 February 2019

South Africa: North West Makes Progress in the Fight Against Corruption

The North West is making progress in strengthening governance and eradicating corruption, says the province's Premier, Professor Job Mokgoro.

"Significant progress has been made in steering this province in the right direction and strengthening the capacity of government to deliver quality services to the people. The intervention is making advances in addressing the governance and service delivery challenges facing our province," said Mokgoro.

Tabling the State of the Province Address (SOPA) at Mmabatho Stadium in Mahikeng on Friday, Mokgoro said to date six senior and executive managers have been suspended and are facing disciplinary action.

Measures taken by the province include suspending the Head of Department for Public Works and Roads, who is facing disciplinary action related to serious financial misconduct.

The Head of Department of Health is also facing a disciplinary hearing for serious financial irregularity, while five other officials in the department are facing disciplinary charges linked to fraud, corruption and transgression of Treasury regulations involving more than R350 million.

In the Office of the Premier, two Chief Directors have been suspended on charges linked to irregular payments in relation to the NEPO Data Dynamics ICT contract, while investigations against 11 other officials in the Office of the Premier are currently underway.

"The Office of the Premier is reviewing a further 31 cases of corruption and maladministration that were reported to an investigative unit established in the Office of the Premier prior to the intervention. These cases will be referred for disciplinary action, if found to have merit," Mokgoro said.

The Premier said four junior officials and one middle manager are facing disciplinary processes related to corrupt conduct, dishonesty and fraud at the Department of Social Development.

Meanwhile, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, is handling 49 cases involving theft, fraud and contraventions in the province.

The status of the cases are at various points, with 10 currently on the court roll for trial, while 21 cases are pending decision by the National Prosecuting Authority. Total amounts involved in the cases stand at R2.497 billion.

Meanwhile, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is handling 44 matters involving procurement irregularities; maladministration; theft of state properties and shoddy work by contractors among others.

"I am therefore cautioning Members of the Executive not to interfere with the supply chain processes in departments, with the aim of creating self-benefit in the administration," said the Premier.

Mokgoro also welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week of the establishment of an investigating directorate to deal with serious corruption and associated offences.

Recently, the Auditor-General's office highlighted the disregard for financial prudence in the province, a situation which the province is turning around.

"It was found that this disregard had been happening for four consecutive financial years since 2014/15, without any commitment from government to resolve such bad financial control. I am therefore pleased to report that in the last seven months, we have managed to curb reckless, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure in the provincial government," Mokgoro said.

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