For some time now, I have been trying to encourage the president to act with determination when it comes to his promise to rid us of corrupt elements in both the ANC as well as the government at large. Well, his timidity, or should I say cowardliness, with regard to both the Zondo report on State Capture and the more recent report on corruption and malfeasance with regards to the personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders of government leaves much to be desired. Abdicating responsibility to others — including the NPA — is not what most of us expected, Sir.
“The final report details matters referred by the SIU (Special Investigating Unit) to the NPA, departments and entities in the public sector and other parties, who will finalise the process of bringing wrongdoers to book, and addressing weaknesses identified by the SIU investigation.”
Yes, law enforcement agencies must do their work and yes many must be brought to book but what about your responsibility and holding those in your government to account? What are you doing about these elements, Sir? Surely, more immediate steps can be taken to suspend, fire or warn some of our government officials implicated in the report. After all, the cases are staggering.
According to the Presidency, investigations have been finalised with respect to 4,549 PPE contracts, of which 2,803 contracts were found to be irregular. This amounts to 62% of the finalised investigations.
“The submission of the final report is an important step in our fight against corruption in the public and private sectors, and against maladministration. This investigation targeted individuals and institutions who believed they could exploit a moment of national vulnerability to enrich themselves and those with whom they colluded to abuse public resources. It is unacceptable that so many contracts associated with saving lives and protecting livelihoods were irregular, unlawful or fraudulent,” Ramaphosa said.
Since the start of the investigation, the SIU, working with other agencies, has made progress in managing consequences arising from the investigation, the Presidency stated.
It noted that 45 matters — constituting a combined value of R2.1-billion — have been enrolled with the Special Tribunal on Corruption, Fraud and Illicit Money Flows. This tribunal has a statutory mandate to recover public funds syphoned from the fiscus through corruption, fraud and illicit money flows, and engages in civil action that is more flexible and less time-consuming than adversarial.
The SIU has made 224 referrals for disciplinary action against officials in government departments or entities, and 386 referrals to the NPA, as well as three referrals for executive action. It is on these referrals for disciplinary action that I would have wanted to see immediate action taken by your office, Mr President. Let’s be bold and let’s take the necessary difficult decisions regardless of political considerations in your party, Sir.
Furthermore, the SIU made 330 referrals for administrative action, which includes blacklisting. Can we expect this to be done soonest? The rand value of actual cash and assets to be recovered on the basis of the investigation is R551.5-million, while cash and assets recovered to date total R34.2-million.
The value of potential loss prevented by the investigation is R114.2-million, while contracts set aside amount to R170.4-million. “As regards prosecutions, the Presidency trusts the NPA will exercise its discretion diligently and expeditiously,” spokesperson in the presidency, Tyrone Seale stated.
- The SIU investigated 5,467 contracts awarded to 3,066 service providers with a total value of R14.3-billion;
- Investigations have been finalised for 4,549 contracts — and 2,803 contracts were found to be irregular;
- Forty-five matters — worth a combined value of R2.1-billion — have been enrolled with the Special Tribunal on Corruption;
- The SIU has made 224 referrals for disciplinary action against officials in government departments or entities;
- The rand value of actual cash and assets to be recovered on the basis of the investigation is R551.5-million;
- The value of potential loss prevented by the investigation is R114.2-million; and
- The value of contracts set aside tops R170-million.
Only R34.2 million has been recovered so far, though.
All of the above points to the sad reality of how both the public and private sectors collude and engage in corrupt practices to defraud the people. After all, it is our money. All while we contend with a devastating pandemic.
How the president moves forward on both these reports might very well define his presidency. Promises were made, the electorate gave you a mandate, now, execute, execute, execute.
The so-called RET forces seemingly got a new lease on life now that some regional conferences were won by them but this will be short-lived I’m sure. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the handling of these two crucial reports can most certainly determine the outcome of the December Elective Conference of the ANC. That Stalingrad approach is what is needed now, Mr President. The unity talk now sounds like flogging a dead horse and you know it.
Be all you can be, be presidential. Use these two reports to effectively put an end to these corrupt practices that are stifling progress in our country. Elements that have openly engaged in such practices must know that no more will one get away with it, especially the ones who participated in such criminal activities while there is a commission on State Capture underway. What a slap in the face for ordinary South Africans and especially you, Mr President, since it is your office that constituted such a commission.
As to the ongoing and continuous budgetary constraints complained about and always put forward by the NPA to effectively do their work, well they too need a kick on the backside. Minister Ronald Lamola has gone a far way to capacitate the NPA, both human resource and monetary-wise and quite frankly, this excuse is wearing thin. Do your work with what you have.
The political economy of corruption in our country has reached fever pitch, the SIU report on PPE corruption and the Zondo Commssion report are effective tools with which to self-correct “net n bietjie”. Let us not squander this opportunity. Give us, the electorate a reason why we should vote for you again, Mr President. DM