WIDESPREAD corruption in two Eastern Cape departments and details of dubious spending by a national authority in the province have been revealed in a report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
The graft-buster’s interim annual report, tabled in parliament last week, revealed rampant fraud and profiteering in the provincial Education and former Roads and Transport Administration (now Roads and Public Works) departments.
It also highlighted R30-million worth of fraud and irregular spending by the national Department of Human Settlements.
The report covers SIU probes in South Africa from April 2010 to September last year.
Also under the SIU spotlight is Port Elizabeth’s Joe Slovo Housing Project. Nelson Mandela Bay injected R267-million into the project in 2010. The Human Settlements Department asked the SIU to investigate corruption and maladministration in the national low-cost housing scheme.
However, the report states: "Documentation [has] not been supplied to [the] SIU despite ongoing requests.” SIU spokesman Boy Ndala declined to comment yesterday.
The unit also details progress in its investigations and the criminal charges brought against public officials. Five cases of fraud had been handed over to the police and two suspects had already been arrested, the report said. But Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu revealed in a report last month that of the 1000 department officials convicted of maladministration in 2009 and 2010, only two had gone to jail.
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The unit is also probing a tender awarded to three companies hired to construct or repair 15 roads in the Eastern Cape. It is alleged large portions of the construction work, valued at R30-million, never took place under the watch of the former roads and transport department.
The report also reveals irregular payments totalling R60-million to companies in the Port St Johns municipality that dealt with the department. Roads and Public Works spokesman Sisanda George said he was unable to comment.
Public Service Accountability Monitor acting co-director Jay Kruuse applauded the SIU but said not enough was being done to convict the perpetrators and root out double-dealing. "The unit’s findings need to be supported by sound leadership that will send guilty officials to jail,” he said.
Kruuse said more should be done than the normal fanfare surrounding the release of a corruption report. "Severe consequences should follow. The government must act. Those guilty should be fired and removed from the public sector.”
The report also shows more than R2-billion in tenders and irregular spending is still under investigation at provincial level in the country.