DPWI & PMTE: Consequence management regarding fraud and corruption cases & Termination of employment contracts that has led to incapacity; with Deputy Minister

Public Works and Infrastructure

11 March 2020
Chairperson: Ms N Ntobongwana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The meeting was convened to discuss the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure’s (DPWI’s) consequence management regarding fraud and corruption cases. The Department highlighted the rampant scale of these cases in its ranks, and informed the Committee of the various measures that it had initiated to tackle this challenge.

It reported that from 2012/13 to the 2019/20 financial year, there had been a total of 293 cases of registered investigations, of which 256 had been finalised, and 19 had been referred to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). Responding to Members’ questions, it acknowledged that the costs involved in SIU investigations were estimated at between R400 million to R500 million.

Members complained about the Department’s reckless manner in handling its own properties, the lack of proactive initiatives and concrete turnaround strategies, the astronomical loss to corruption, and the absence of reference to over-expenditure on state funerals and functions in the presentation.

They sought clarity on bogus beneficiaries of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), a building owned by the Department that should have been vacated in 2009 but now had 120 occupants, officials suspended without pay and senior officials’ accountability, the vetting process for Department employees, the cases involving investigations of the C-Max correction centre, the Zeerust police station and Nkandla, and the Department’s working relationship with the SIU. They questioned the effectiveness of its anti-corruption hotline, the skewed expenditure allocations to the provinces, the advocacy programme on corruption, and the Department’s ability to conduct quality checks.

The Committee urged the Department to continue rooting out corruption, to build internal capacity in its legal units, and to develop an asset register.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s Introductory Remarks

The Chairperson welcomed the Deputy Minister, the Director-General and Deputy Directors-General from the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI).

She explained the distinctions around the issues that fell within the mandates of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and those that had to be dealt with by this Committee. She formally complained to the Department about the delayed presentations, since the Committee had been on the verge of cancelling the meeting because the presentation documents had not been sent to Members till 2pm on the prior day. She commented that had the meeting taken place within the premises of Parliament, this meeting would have been cancelled. She implored the Department to be mindful of the fact that Members needed time to make reflections and deliberations on the materials, and requested that presentations for the following week be sent to the Committee before the end of the business day.

The Committee Secretary made apologies on behalf of Ms M Hicklin (DA), Mr W Thring (ACDP), Ms A Siwisa (EFF) and Mr M Tshwaku (EFF). Ms Hicklin had to be at a funeral, and Ms Siwisa and Mr Tshwaku had to attend to EFF party business. The Secretary also made an apology on behalf of Minister Patricia De Lille, as she had to attend a Cabinet meeting

Deputy Minister’s comments

Ms Noxolo Kiviet, Deputy Minister: Public Works and Infrastructure, noted the Chairperson’s complaint and profusely apologised for the delay in the submission of documents. She said that her Department needed to take such matters seriously. She also made an apology for leading a delegation comprised solely of men.

Members murmured that this was unacceptable and wrong.

The Deputy Minister said that she would speak to the Director General of the Department to sort this out.

The Deputy Minister referred to the “demon of corruption” among public servants, which had been mentioned in the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2020. Her Department’s view was that once the public sector could lead by the example of honesty and commitment set in the Constitution, then the “demon” would not be of such a magnitude.

She highlighted the continuous and redundant mention of consequence management in the public domain. Although investigations had been held and instigated, the lack of consequence management was a huge gap that had resulted in many criminals not being brought to book. For her part, the Department was dedicated to ensure that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was working with them to oversee proper consequence management. She acknowledged the huge corruption challenge faced by the Department, given its nature -- dealing with public works -- and assured Members that the Department was trying to close those loopholes and work closely with the SIU to fight fraud and corruption. She had no doubt that the system could provide sufficient checks and balances, but stressed that people needed to follow up to ensure proper oversight functions were carried out.

DPWI and PMTE: Consequence management regarding fraud and corruption cases

Mr Imtiaz Fazel, DDG: Governance ad Risk Compliance, DPWI, said the Department had adopted a holistic approach towards combating fraud, corruption and unethical behaviour amongst its employees. The DPWI was a department that had a combined annual property budget of approximately R20 billion. Given the vast amount of budget allocated to the Department, it was susceptible to fraud and corruption risks. Up to R30 billion was being lost annually to corruption in all spheres of government. The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) had conducted a review of R500 billion of goods and services and construction work in the 2013/14 financial year. In response to all the factors involved, the Department had devised a three-staged turnaround strategy: stabilisation, efficiency enhancement and sustainable development. In addition, it also had an Anti-Corruption and Fraud Awareness Unit, which was mandated to conduct investigations around fraud and corruption.

Drawing on the national anti-corruption strategy, the DPWI had devised its own proactive fraud prevention strategies. This strategy was comprised of four elements: prevention, detection, investigation and resolutions.

Poor fraud risk management emerged as a key aspect that needed to be tackled. The Department had committed through its strategic plan to reduce its fraud risk exposure by 85% by the 2019/20 financial year. This fraud index had been developed to measure fraud and corruption risks, and risk owners were then expected to mitigate fraud risk within their area of responsibility and to report quarterly on their action plans to mitigate them.

Key components of the fraud risk plan had been provided, and high fraud risks had been identified.

Mr Fazel briefed Members on the regulations that required employees to detect fraud. The code of conduct for the public service required every employee, irrespective of position, to report corruption to the appropriate authorities. The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act No 12 of 2004 required a person in position of authority in both the public and private sector to report corruption, and other crimes involving less or more than R100 000, to the police. If a person knowingly, or ought to have known, but failed to report, that person would be guilty of a crime.

From 2012/13 to 2019/20 financial year, there had been a total of 293 cases of registered investigations, of which 256 had been finalised, and 19 had been referred to the SIU. Of all those cases, 109 cases were allegations of fraud and corruption, 85 cases were tender irregularities, 48 cases were financial misconduct, 16 lease irregularities, 20 human resources, three project mismanagement, three security breaches and two related to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) beneficiaries. Of all the 325 recommended for disciplinary actions, 288 had been finalised, 13 had resulted in dismissals, one demotion, 40 final written warnings, 60 cases of written warnings, 21 cases of suspension without pay, 11 cases of verbal warnings, 24 cases had had people resigned or passed on before cases were finalised, 112 cases had been found not guilty, five cases had charges withdrawn, and there were 37 pending cases. There had been a total of 46 cases for criminal referrals to the South African Police Service (SAPS) since the 2012/13 financial year.

The Department conducted regular fraud/corruption awareness workshops across the entire Department, targeting all staff members regardless of levels. The main purpose of these workshops was to create awareness and education of officials in respect of its fight against fraud and corruption. To date, a total of 262 fraud awareness presentations had been conducted within the Department since the 2012/13 financial year, targeting all officials regardless of levels.

Life style audits in the public sector were expected to commence in the Department.

The Minister had chosen to introduce the Consequence Management Unit to add value to the existing consequences management structures within the Department, such as the Labour Relations Directorate, the Internal Audit and the Anti-Corruption Unit. Within the Department, a compliance framework was approved in March 2017. It provided a sense of assurance to the Director-General, according to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), that the operations of the Department, including those of all its branches, were in line with the applicable compliance universe. In addition, the Public Audit Amendment Act gave the Office of the Auditor-General more power to act against officials and employees who waste taxpayers’ money, as well as against Accounting Officers who were aware of losses but declined/failed to act against the culprits. In the Department, the implementation of the Infrastructure Delivery Management System (IDMS) and the review of business processes, procedures and delegations associated with it, had been under way.

The Archibus System – the modules that were originally procured -- must be completed by July 2020. In essence, this means that the DPWI must have a fully functional Immoveable Asset Register by July 2020 that had been accepted by the Auditor General (AG).

The DDG briefed Members of Department’s working relationship with Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the work that it had conducted in the Department. Where there was prima facie evidence of criminal transgressions by officials and/or other persons, for example, contractors or service providers, SIU registers a criminal case with the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further criminal investigation. The objective of this action was to obtain a successful prosecution. In terms of the SIU’s legislation, the SIU also institutes civil action for recovery of monies due to the State (for example, in cases of over-payments, fraudulent claims, etc.) or for other legal remedy (for example, the cancellation of illegal contracts between the Department and landlords, in instances of leased property, etc.)

The SIU discovered a range of systemic weaknesses in the Department with respects to the upgrades of ministerial houses, lease reviews, day-to-day maintenance. Recommendations given by SIU were provided to the Committee.

The DDG informed Members of the unscheduled maintenance which the Department had noticed. It had identified the weaknesses in its internal controls, and the areas of possible fraud risks.

He concluded with some of the achievements in the Department. The Ministers of Public Works and Infrastructure had since 2018 regularly engaged the media on the success of the Department and the SIU in the fight against fraud and corruption

  • The Department ordinarily commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day, and re-commits the DPWI to the fight against fraud and corruption
  • In responding to ethical dilemmas within the Department, it recognises the importance of the implementation of the integrity management and ethics framework
  • In recognition of the work the DPWI had done with regard to combating fraud and corruption, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster collaborates on issues of fraud and corruption affecting the Department
  • Improved consequence management within the Department serves as a deterrent to fraud and corruption
  • It had introduced fraud risk management as the preeminent component of the anti-corruption strategy
  • There was more emphasis on fraud prevention through the implementation of a robust and responsive fraud risk management process
  • It had implemented pro-active measures to combat fraud, such as the use of data analytics as value adding initiatives – for example, unscheduled maintenance intervention
  • Improved consequence management within the Department serves as a deterrence to fraud and corruption
  • Fraud risk management had been incorporated into the business plans and performance agreements of senior managers
  • The Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) unit also plays an active role in management structures established within the DPW to promote accountability, for example, the Accountability Management Committee (AMC) and Risk Management Committee (RMC)
  • There was a closer working relationship with the JCPS cluster and other law enforcement agencies


Ms S Graham-Mare (DA) said Members had not had time to make meaningful deliberations on the presentation. She commented that this presentation did not cover many concerns raised by the SCOPA meeting, and therefore expressed her doubt that only two cases had been picked up as irregular EPWP beneficiaries. She cited the evidence in Ethekwini Municipality, where many beneficiaries were either not living in the area, did not exist, or were claiming payment on behalf of other people. Given the magnitude in that municipality, she could not believe that there were only two cases, as shown in the presentation.

She had recommended the Minister should set up a register for government employees who had been found guilty of misconduct, or were under suspicion or had been investigated, so that they would not be recycled again to other governmental departments. She enquired if a person resigned before the investigation process concluded, did the investigation stop there?

She commented on the internal weaknesses, citing an example of the house handover for Members in Parliament Village. There was no check or record to see what damage had been done by the previous occupant. She therefore assumed that this checking would not be done at other levels either. She recommended that the Department look into this matter. She mentioned an oversight inspection which she did in Durban of a building that was the Department’s property. The building was supposed to have been vacated in 2009, and 120 flats were fully occupied by the time she did the inspection last night. She asked who was paying rent, rates and taxes for the building. And to whom? Did the Department monitor the properties that it owns?

Ms P Kopane (DA) commented that she was saddened and overwhelmed by the presentation content, which showed a dilapidated Department. She did, however, appreciate its honesty and transparency. She believed that not everyone in the Department was bad, but there needed to be proper consequence management in place. She suggested that the section on the SIU in the presentation should have been presented separately.

She enquired about the cost of the work that SCOPA had done for the Department since 2013. She referred to the “suspended officials without payment” in the presentation, and asked how many officials had been suspended with payment. It had become a trend in the government to be suspended and still get paid. She asked about the Department’s vetting process, and how many new employees had been vetted and found to be not suitable for the Department. What action had been taken to address that since fraud management was in place? She informed the Department that the fraud hotline was often not working, and asked how many cases that involved fraud had been reported. Many people who witnessed fraud and corruption were in fear of reporting, so this hotline was of vital importance for anonymity reasons. She asked for a breakdown of cases involving corruption and fraud within each entity of the Department.

Mr T Mashele (ANC) expressed his disappointment at the absence of progress shown in the report. He wanted to know how far the Department had gone towards achieving all its set objectives. He commented on the presentation statement that “submissions were made for the DG to avail resources,” and asked how much progress was made. Had the cases for the C-Max correction centre and Zeerust Police Station been concluded, and were they recouping the loss?  

Mr E Mathebula (ANC) expressed disbelief at the R15 billion that had been lost due to corruption. He asked for an overview what was happening in the Department that had caused such a huge level of corruption. On reporting corruption, he asked if there was any reward in place for whistle blowers. He enquired about the progress of a case where a municipality was accused of abusing R90 million, but was later discovered to have misused only R6 million.

Speaking on the issue of Nkandla, he asked how much had been recovered and whether any prosecution and recovery progress or attachment of assets had been made. He pointed out that there had been a lack of indication in the presentation of the actual persons who had been found guilty, and for what crimes they had been sentenced. He suggested Department to change the manner in which they report cases. Instead of going straight to the SIU, they should go to the SAPS, since the SIU was not specialised in civil matters.

Mr Mathebula wanted to know the number of senior officials who had been dismissed and given warnings due to corruption. He had the impression that only junior staff members got punished and senior officials were shielded from corruption. Senior members should be held accountable, as they were the ones with the power.

Ms L Shabalala (ANC) emphasised the role of transparency. She said that if there was no concrete turnaround strategy and consequence management, the recommendations would not make a meaningful difference. The Cabinet had approved the public service anti-corruption unit in 2002, which meant that corruption could be traced to many years back. The sad thing was that from time to time, the public sector was occupied with other challenges such as high unemployment, and the issue of combating corruption gets eclipsed.

She expressed her doubt over the advocacy programme and communication strategy on corruption in the Department, and asked if it involved those who had raised disputes in the past. She was concerned over the situation in KwaZulu-Natal, since it was mentioned as a high corruption province. She suggested the Committee should do oversight inspections and speak to those that fell outside of the mainstream economic class. She commented that the top expenditure recipients were all concentrated in provinces such as Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and asked where the Eastern Cape was. The distribution of beneficiaries was really skewed, as StatsSA indicated that the majority of rural sites were suffering from poverty.

She wanted the Department to provide more information on the benefits of the Archibus asset management system. The purpose of thoroughly knowing everything was because Members did not want the Department to have further excuses about dealing with challenges when the Committee performed its oversight function in future. Although she was not sure about the EPWP beneficiaries’ situation in Ethekwini municipality, she was aware that something irregular had happened and wanted to know the consequences for those involved, and the progress of the investigation. She recalled a trip to Pretoria, where she had noted the shortage of staff in the legal Department. There had been only one or two people working there, so it did not look like a fully-fledged department ready to tackle corruption. She therefore asked how many settlements had been reached out of court. She was aware that some departments would even outsource legal services, and asked if it would be better to build the internal capacity.

Ms S van Schalkwyk (ANC) appreciated the shared information in the presentation, but pointed out that its content had not addressed the first item on the meeting agenda. She asked about quality checks in the Department. With the limited knowledge and expertise it had in certain fields, how did it plan to do quality check from now onwards to ensure that quality was compatible with the money that was spent? She commented on unscheduled maintenance, and pointed out that money was not the problem in this Department -- the real problem was how it was spent. Although it had identified problems in the presentation, the Committee needed an action plan from the Department to see that it would actually implement it to address the issues. She noted the absence of state funerals and functions in the presentation again, and expressed her disappointment. Since resources had been put in place for the anti-corruption hotline, she wanted to know its effectiveness, which had also not been covered in the presentation.

The Chairperson thanked the Department’s delegation for their clear presentation. Commenting on the unscheduled maintenance system, she urged it to stick to the recommendations included in the presentation and integrate them into its daily work. She enquired about the asset register, and pointed out that its crucial value was shown in what needed to be maintained, as this could help in reducing the duplicate payments made to contractors. She referred to the serious challenges in Pretoria and Cape Town in the presentation, and asked the Department to be mindful of them.

Mr Mashele enquired about the variation order on the C-Max prison, and asked if the Department was able to determine what the normal amount would be, and what the irregular expenditure was.

Ms Van Schalkwyk noted that most companies in the presentation were based in Cape Town and Pretoria. She asked Department to be mindful that some companies may be doing work in the Northern Cape, but because their head offices were in Cape Town, it was reflected on the spreadsheet as occurring in Cape Town. She asked for the actual maintenance sites to be provided to the Committee.

The Chairperson agreed, and asked for a full list of companies that were doing work in Cape Town and Pretoria from 2014 to 2019.

Department’s response

Mr Sam Vukela, Director-General: DPWI, said the Department would compile a report to submit to the Committee on those companies that Members had just mentioned.

On fruitless expenditure and variation orders, it would provide more detailed information in a spreadsheet and forward it to the Committee.

The Department would provide a report on remedying unscheduled maintenance in due course. It was planning to place ten contracts, and 300 buildings had been identified where the Department would need external assistance, such as facility management companies. He agreed with Members that Department was not lacking money, but rather more how it was spent. The ten contracts for the maintenance of leases had already been advertised. Learning from the past experience that only big tender companies usually participated in these programmes, there was a programme that would facilitate small to medium companies participating, as long as they could make a full proposal that met the Department’s requirements after discussion with the Minister.

On tender disputes, the DG recognised the challenges that the Department faced from time to time. Due to its nature, it was prone to disputes. Most were resolved through alternative dispute resolution processes, and those who disagreed with the resolutions would take the matters to court. This took extra time to resolve the issues.

He assured Members that all categories of Departmental employees would face consequence management. It had had senior officials such as chief directors suspended in the past.

On the vetting of employees, he said the Department had information with respect to employees that could not pass the test, and his colleague from corporate services would brief the Committee on the matter. Its vetting process was multi-dimensional, as it not only looked at a candidate’s suitability for the job, but also at the candidate’s criminal record. If there was a criminal record, the Department would not make the appointment. If such matters were picked up at a later stage, after the candidate had been employed, the Department would also take action by terminating the employment.

Referring to government buildings that were owned by the Department, he said it had started to develop a project that monitored the payment of rates and taxes. He conceded that the Department did not know all the lessees or occupants in the buildings that it owned. This issue was of such severity that even within the vicinity of the DPWI head office building, there was a building that it owned where it was trying to evict the current illegal occupants.

On the recycling of government officials, he believed that if a government employee quits before the investigation process concludes, then the employee should be considered dismissed. Unfortunately, his view was currently subject to contestation, as they were not considered dismissed.

He assured Members that the issue of EPWP beneficiaries at eThekwini municipality was being looked into, and his colleague in the EPWP would provide a report in due course.

Mr Fazel, continuing the response, dealt with the question of EPWP beneficiaries, and said that the reason that there were only two cases in the presentation was because the DPWI was not the implementing body, but a coordinating agency for the EPWP.

Regarding the dismissal of employees, he recalled an incident where an employee had resigned from one government department after being placed under investigation for misconduct, and then applied for a job at StatsSA. Luckily, the director at StatsSA was informed by the employee’s previous manager afterwards, and this employee had then resigned at StatsSA. He said this was common practice among some employees. 

On the costs involved in SIU investigations, he responded that the estimate would be about R400 million to R500 million.

He said that the Department ordinarily did not have suspension with pay.

He said that employees would not receive security clearance if they were unsuitable. This usually happened in the first round of vetting. He was confident in the vetting, as it had never happened that someone had passed the first round of vetting with a security clearance and it was found later that they were unsuitable. He acknowledged that supply chain management (SCM) was a high-risk area, and the vetting of those officials was very important. However, as the majority of employees in that supply chain were junior staff and interns, they usually engaged in malpractice.

Regarding the effectiveness of the fraud hotline, he said it was an independent anti-corruption hotline and there had been a declining trend over the years.

The DDG commented on the lenient sanctions available to employees, questioning their adequacy when an employee who had caused severe loss to the state would only be given suspension without pay and demotion. He suggested harsher punishment for those who had committed misdeeds that caused great loss to the state.

The DPWI was fully aware of all the gaps, since the level of corruption had been quantified by Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). The behaviour of some of their contractors resulted in Department employees were taking chances with the loopholes. The DDG estimated that this opportunism could cost the Department a 20-30% loss in the original number of contracts, and if it dismissed the contractors, this loss would be aggravated, adding to another 30% loss.

He had consulted National Treasury on the reward system when investigating illegally transferred state properties. He believed that the Member’s proposal could work, since the Department found it really difficult to identify illegally transferred properties. The Department had around 40-50 cases where its own properties had disappeared without a trace.

He reported that 15-16 staff members who had been involved in not duly following proper procurement process on the Nkandla issue, had been charged through disciplinary processes. The Department had applied sanctions to those employees.

Mr Fazel explained that criminal referral was the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA)’s core business. The SIU was in discussion with the NPA to bring criminals to court. The DPWI and SIU both referred fraud and corruption cases to the SAPS. He recalled a case which was currently waiting for the court’s decision on a staff member who was overseeing a huge project, and was implicated in the inflation of the project’s value. The case was taken to the Pietermaritzburg high court, but due to SIU issues, the judge had ordered a postponement, and currently this case was awaiting a trial date. He hoped that the new SIU tribunal would bring about a change to such matters. 

He assured Members that the DPWI did not have double standards when applying sanctions to government officials, regardless of their rank in the Department. In fact, it had always had senior officials charged.

He said the Department’s anti-corruption strategy would reach out to all levels of society to encourage them to report corruption and fraud. All branch managers would be held accountable for their junior staff’s misconduct. Its integrity management programme was to train employees to understand the roles of being a public servant. It was taking a more holistic approach in its turnaround strategy and consequence management.

Mr Fazel said there had been an increasing number of scams which implicated the Department’s employees as accomplices. Some criminals would be able to find out the top three tenderers for a Department contract, and call them up for bribes. Although there was legislation to protect whistle blowers, those workers who exposed corruption would always be at risk.

On the Department’s maintenance plan, he said the Department had a full recommendation to use facility management, which showed that they did have a plan to close the gaps.

The DPWI had a categorised report on the C-Max issue, and would provide it to the Committee.

Mr Clive Mtshisa, Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, DPWI, responded to the question on the legal unit. When building capacity in the legal units at some regional offices, one had to bear in mind the cost implications. The structure was that every regional office should have a legal administrative office which had qualified attorneys. The responsibilities of those attorneys were to provide a government legal service as part of the internal support function. Any litigation case involving the government had to be referred to the State Attorneys’ office. They would then gather information and take the cases. Currently, the branch in Mthatha did not have an office. The Western Cape was going through a selection process to build its legal unit in the region. He recognised that the Eastern Cape branch was a challenge, as it was run by head office.

He commented that although the Department’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system had not been concluded, it was in progress. This system lists all property transactions on a spreadsheet, and all transactional listing modules on the database as well. Although Information Communication Technology (ICT) corporate governance had appeared to be a challenge at first, it was getting better after the intervention implemented by the DG.

Deputy Minister Kiviet continued the Department’s response, to and commented on employees’ resignations before being sanctioned. She had observed in her experience and observation that a person who was charged would always adopt a mechanism to drag out the case in order to use up time and frustrate the process. Once all the evidence had been finalised and there was no way for the person implicated to get out, they would resign and stay at home and take a retirement package. Meanwhile they would be busy applying for other job positions at other government departments, and they would eventually resurface later. After their resurfacing, they would still continue the same unethical conduct. She acknowledged that this was a gap, and recognised the need for a register so that those people could be kept on record. Her view was that the Department should not only register those who had been found of misconduct, but those that had been found of sexual harassment should be kept on record as well.

The Deputy Minister recognised the Member’s complaint, that property handovers were not properly handled, as a general problem. She said there was a huge risk in the fact that the Department did not keep records of what was in a building, because when a new Member came in, those items would be changed. It was hard to identify what went missing if such cases were reported. She asked both the DG and DDG to find a solution to the matter.

She admitted that the SIU had cost the Department hundreds of million of Rands. She would alert the Ministry of the matter. The Minister had engaged with the SIU to try see what the Department could do to reduce the cost, and establish why it cost so much.

On procurement, she commented that the DPWI was indeed a Department of tenders. Whatever was needed, it would need a tender to supply the service. The challenge was whether it could sustain the service on its own, since there were areas where Department did not need a third party. Actually it would cost less if those people could be employed within the Department to build internal capacity. She recalled an incident in which she had asked a company to fix a few issues at a Member’s house. Although the issue could be quickly dealt with and was not difficult work, she had received a memo two weeks later which quoted the cost of the work at R360 000. She had asked for a breakdown of the cost, and had never heard from that company since. She had asked the CIDB to be more proactive in addressing such matters, as the misappropriated funds could be used for more meaningful purposes to build the country.

The issue of state funeral and functions was currently being dealt with by the SCOPA. Chief directors at the Department’s prestige unit needed to review the procedure to procure services. Usually requests for state funeral arrangements would come from both the President’s Office and family members of the deceased, so she suggested they should be involved in the policy revision as well.

The Deputy Minister asked the Committee to review the officials’ code of conduct. She was alarmed by the massive amount of suspensions occurring in the Department. She considered the current punishment as way too lenient, and could not effectively reduce fraud and corruption. 

Ms Graham-Mare enquired about the R285 million Potchefstroom Justice Department project. The project had started in 2015, and was originally scheduled to have been completed by 2016. She observed that the work had been completed only in November 2019. She wanted the Department to provide a report to the Committee on the additional cost incurred on that project.

Ms Van Schalkwyk commented that the review of the national anti-corruption strategy needed to be referred to labour as well

The Chairperson said responses to the two additional questions may be submitted in written form.

She proposed that agenda item two should be deferred to the following week.

She urged the Deputy Minister and the DPWI to work hard to achieve the results that everyone wanted. The identified issues had to be tackled. The Committee needed to see a concrete strategy plan to address the identified issues. It also needed to review the contractors who were doing work in Cape Town and Pretoria.

Ms Kopane asked the Department to provide the names of the directors of those companies, because there were people who committed crimes using multiple companies.

The Chairperson said she did not think this was necessary, as Members could check the information online themselves.

The meeting was adjourned.

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