The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) met to be briefed by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on the terms of reference for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SIU was tasked to probe the irregular expenditure by the President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, on 23 July 2020, which was followed by a Cabinet decision on 5 August 2020 to establish a Ministerial task team to form an exhaustive list of COVID-19 response-related contracts. The Committee was told that the SIU’s terms of reference related to the procurement of and provision of contracts for PPE necessary to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, funds intended for construction and/or development of hospitals and quarantine sites, catering services for food parcels, ventilators, disinfecting equipment, as well as motorised wheelchairs. Over R5 billion in questionable COVID-19 tenders were being investigated. This was spread over more than 600 cases of PPE tenders and pandemic-related contracts.
The presentation detailed several COVID-19 related contracts awarded to service providers in each of the provinces, as well as the amounts that accompanied them. Thereafter, the nature of the allegations that related to manipulation of supply chain management processes were outlined. The Committee was told that some of the service providers involved in these processes had received payments prior to even beginning their work.
In addition, the SIU was investigating the Department of Water and Sanitation’s deployment of over 17 000 water tankers. This related to allegations of deliberate restriction of water infrastructure and provision to award contracts to connected service providers. Whistle blowers had sent the SIU evidence of tankers being located where they were not supposed to be, as well as potential cases of deliberate dumping of water cargos.
SCOPA welcomed the SIU’s terms of reference for investigations into misconduct in COVID-19 procurement as presented in the meeting. The Committee voiced concern, anger and revulsion about the allegations of corruption taking place in COVID-19 procurement matters and contract.
The Committee expressed the importance of following through on consequence management. It urged the SIU to act swiftly against those guilty of misconduct. These swift and successful prosecutions were necessary in order to discourage further corruption in government, as well as restoring public confidence. Swift and successful investigations and prosecutions were also necessary in order to recover stolen funds.
Whilst the members were aware that investigations were at the early stages, they requested that the SIU formulate reports with more details of the cases under investigation, as well as specific timelines. They asked to be included in the SIU’s upcoming communication with the President.
The SIU was also asked for further details on the roles of provincial departments of the Treasury in meeting the requirements outlined by National Treasury under Instruction Eight (2020). This required all government departments to report the spending of COVID-19 funding to National Treasury within 30 days.
The Committee asked the SIU for explanation of the role of the recently formed Inter-Ministerial Task Team in collaboration with the SIU.
The Committee said the next step would be its meeting with the Inter-Ministerial Committee on 21 August 2020.
The Chairperson expressed disquiet and anger at the prevailing instances of corruption insofar as COVID-19 was concerned on behalf of SCOPA. Corruption was an injustice to the people of South Africa who relied on government to deliver and manage the affairs of the country in manner that inspired confidence. This included good financial management, which had been lacking in the past few months. This was specifically with regard to procurement matters. It required the Committee to step up to the plate as part of its responsibilities to clamp down on prevailing corruption. He was happy Parliament had entrusted the Committee with the responsibility to oversee ongoing investigations.
He said Advocate Andy Mothibi and his team and colleagues in law enforcement would set the pace. The slow pace of consequence management and successful prosecutions was an enabler to the continuation of corrupt practices. In the absence of law enforcement that “bit”, corruption was emboldened. People were at the receiving end of corruption who required the services that were affected.
The pandemic had ravaged the economy, lives and families. One sad instance of COVID-19 was that many the pandemic had enriched were the people entrusted to protect the people of South Africa.
He hoped the opening remarks spoke to the urgency of the matter – the Committee was impatient. SCOPA would exert all the pressure it could to ensure successful prosecution and consequence management. The goal was to minimise and eradicate consequence management through deterrence.
He welcomed the SIU team. The SIU would provide a briefing of the terms of reference that would guide the investigation and consequence management.
The Committee would be meeting on Friday 21 August 2020 with the Inter-Ministerial Committee that was also investigating the matter, led by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Ronald Lamola. However, the executive could not oversee the executive. SOCPA therefore remained important. The corruption that was being seen was totally unacceptable and unforgiveable. The Committee needed to respond to the genuine concerns of South Africans.
He handed over to Advocate Mothibi.
Special Investigative Unit Presentation
Adv Andy Mothibi, SIU, Head, appreciated SCOPA allowing the SIU provincial heads who were leading investigations in the provinces to join the meeting. The Chairperson’s opening words drove the SIU too. He wanted to see effective investigations and conversion rate optimisation. This involved converting evidence into outcomes and speedy action. This informed the premise for the departure and foundation of the investigation. He shared the anger expressed by the Committee at the corruption. The SIU would make sure to deliver timely results.
He introduced his colleagues. The Chief Programme Portfolio Officer at the SIU, Mr Pranesh Maharaj, was responsible for processing allegations into the stage where a proclamation was published.
Thereafter, the SIU Chief Investigating Officer would take through the allegations under investigation.
The SIU had a shared integrated approach which was worked on internally and externally with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Hawks, the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) (the Fusion Centre) in collaboration to bring about results.
Mr Maharaj dealt with slides three-seven of the presentation. These included the Background to the COVID-19 proclamation, the Terms of Reference, and the Methodology of the SIU in identifying matters for investigation.
The SIU had received a number of allegations relating to procurement in response to COVID-19 procurement. These had come from a range of sources which included the Director-General in the Office of the Premier of Gauteng, whistle blowers, and anonymous sources, who had all reported misconduct.
The allegations involved state institutions at national, provincial and local government spheres relating to procurement of goods, works or services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SIU had considered and assessed the allegations, and thereafter applied to the President for a proclamation to be able to investigate maladministration and corruption in relation to these procurement actions by all state institutions across all three tiers of government that related to COVID-19 procurement.
The Presidential proclamation had been issued on 23 July 2020. It indicated that procurement corruption was an endemic and widespread problem.
The SIU’s Motivation for a Proclamation
Procurement across different state institutions across all three spheres of government were showing evidence of misconduct. The allegations that had been reported to the SIU related to irregular procurement of PPE, hospital and quarantine sites, catering services relating to food parcels, ventilators, disinfecting equipment, as well as motorised wheelchairs.
It was alleged that the procurement did not comply with Section 217(1) of the Constitution, as well as other relevant measures that had been announced by National Treasury as prerequisites for COVID-19-related procurement. Suppliers and/or service providers that had been contracted had been paid in the absence of proof of delivery of goods or services. There had been duplicate payments made to suppliers or service providers, along with instances of price inflation. Some suppliers or service providers had not possessed valid tax clearance certificates. PPE had been procured at inflated prices. Some state officials had also disqualified legitimate goods and service providers and entities who had applied for procurement, replacing them with entities belonging to acquaintances or politically connected individuals.
The Focus Area of the Proclamation
The SIU was mandated to investigate the procurement of, or contracting for, goods, works and services. These included the construction, refurbishment, leasing, occupation and use of immovable property during, or in respect of, the National State of Disaster as had been declared by Government Notice 313 dated 15 March 2020, by or on behalf of state institutions.
The proclamation made it clear that the payments that had been made had not been fair, competitive, transparent or cost effective. These had been contrary to applicable legislation, manuals, guidelines, practice notes, circulars, and/or instructions issued by National and/or relevant Provincial Treasuries. The manuals, policies, procedures, prescripts, instructions or practices of applicable state institutions had also been contradicted. The payments that had been made had been conducted by or facilitated through improper or unlawful conduct of employers or officials of state institutions, as well as a wider range of private sector entities in order to corruptly or unduly benefit themselves and others. Payments made had also been fraudulent, with related unauthorised, irregular, and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure that had been incurred by the state and its institutions.
The investigative scope was set from 1 January 2020 to 23 July 2020.
The issue arose of how matters were prioritised.
Methodology of Identifying Matters
Allegations had been and continued to be received by the SIU from numerous sources. These included state institutions. These allegations were then registered and assessed against the investigative scope period set out by the Proclamation. If the allegations fell within the scope, the matters would be referred to the relevant SIU investigative team for investigation.
The SIU was therefore using a central case management system.
Matters were prioritised according to their potential outcomes being realised in the shortest time period based on available resources. This made use of the “low hanging fruit” principle in order to make quick hits in terms of civil and criminal referrals in a short amount of time.
Advocate Mothibi said consequence management actions is what the SIU wanted to see, and the SIU wanted to see this on time. The SIU would move quickly and wanted to demonstrate that the Special Tribunal would be an important mechanism in the fight against corruption.
Systemic recommendations would be included in report to president where improvements in legal framework or government processes to b
List of Matters Under Investigation
Mr Leonard Lekgheto, Chief National Investigations Officer, SIU, detailed the matters under SIU investigation per province, the departments or entities under investigation therein, the number of companies or contracts involved in relation to each provincial entity, and the amount involved.
The amount under investigation totalled R5 083 478 584.
Gauteng Province Investigations
The Gauteng Department of Health was being investigated for dealings with 157 companies or contracts that amounted to R2.2 billion.
In Gauteng, the matters under investigation related to: 1) 90 companies that had been used to procure PPE, 2) 30 companies used to procure medical equipment, 3) 32 companies used for services relating to accommodation, car hire, catering, computers, counselling sessions for staff, legal costs, patient care, and printing; and 4) 5 companies used for infrastructure projects which included warehouses to hold PPE and one quarantine site.
Eastern Cape Provincial Investigations
The Eastern Cape Departments of Health, Education, Labour, and Public Works and Infrastructure, the Nelson Mandela Bay, OR Tambo, and Mhlonto Municipalities, were under investigation for dealings with 350 companies or contracts.
Matters under investigation in the Eastern Cape included: 1) irregular procurement of goods and services for decontamination, infrastructure, accommodation, PPE, and the leasing of 55 000 tablets and an e-learning platform, 2) refurbishments and alterations to hospitals and clinics; and 3) non-payments of the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).
KZN Provincial Investigations
The KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Social Development and Education were under investigation for dealings with 79 companies or contracts amounting to over R550 million.
Matters under investigation in KwaZulu-Natal included: 1) irregular procurement of PPE by the Departments of Social Development and Education; and 2) the irregular procurement of blankets by the Department of Social Development.
North West Province Investigations
The North West Departments of Health, Education, and Social Development, and the JB Marks and Ratlou Local Municipalities were under investigation for dealings with 15 companies or contracts.
The matters under investigation in the North West included: the procurement of sanitisers, PPE, and temperature guns, as well as the abuse of petrol cards for COVID-19-related travel, and distribution of food parcels.
Mpumalanga Province Investigations
The Mpumalanga Department of Health was under investigation for dealings with six companies or contracts amounting to R19 million.
The matters under investigation in Mpumalanga related to the irregular procurement of masks where the masks provided had not met the minimum standards of KN95 masks, irregularities regarding distributions of COVID-19 funds, as well as the irregular distribution of food parcels.
Limpopo Province Investigations
The Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpopo was under investigation for dealings with eight service providers amounting to R26 million. The matters under investigation related to the irregular awarding of contracts to eight service providers who had not been on the panel of contractors for the municipality.
Western Cape Province Investigations
The Western Cape Departments of Health, Education, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, as well as the Matzikama and Laingsburg Municipalities were under investigation for dealings with five companies or contracts.
The matters under investigation in the Western Cape related to: 1) procurement of PPE which had seen bid manipulation which had been exposed in leaked bid documents, the sale of fraudulent hand sanitizer where a service provider had stolen labelling from another provider, and a general irregular procurement process, 2) the procurement of neurological microscopic equipment, and 3) the procurement of food parcels.
The Free State Provincial Treasury was under investigation for dealings with 10 companies or contracts amounting to over R46 million in irregular PPE procurement.
National Departments Investigations
The Departments of Labour, Education, Defence, Public Works and Infrastructure, and Correctional Services were under investigation at the national level for dealings with 26 companies or contracts amounting to over R133 million.
The matters under investigation related to: 1) PPE procurement where irregular processes had been followed and contracts had been awarded to politically connected officials and friends, 2) the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), 3) the supply of water tankers to schools; and 4) infrastructure provision and installation.
Civil Litigation Unit
Advocate Mothibi said that he wanted the allegations presented to be speedily investigated. The SIU was looking at its resources across provinces as they had to resource the investigations that were being done. This had involved reallocation to prioritise the COVID-19 matters. The SIU would be using the expert resources it had access to in order to cope with the reprioritisation. The teams were hard at work to deliver on time.
Dr Jerome Wells, Chief Legal Counsel, SIU, discussed the integrated model between civil litigation and the investigating teams. Although this (and the SIU) focused on civil litigation; there was also a focus on an integrated approach between the SIU, the NPA, and the Hawks, through the Fusion Centre.
Dr Wells said the Civil Litigation Unit was responsible to ensure consequence management to recover lost funds. The project was operating across South Africa.
Each region had a respective focus. Within each region, the SIU assigned lawyers to the matter who were expected to identify potential instances where civil litigation was required. Once a lawyer in the region had identified the potential matter for civil litigation, the lawyer was required to prepare a motivation for following civil litigation and submit it to the SIU Civil Litigation Division. If the Civil Litigation Division agreed that civil litigation was justified, it was submitted for approval.
The matter then passed to the Office of the State Attorney and external counsel would be appointed to take the matter further.
Investigating teams needed to be ready to assist the external counsel in preparation of matters for the Special Tribunal.
Advocate Mothibi said that since the establishment of the Special Tribunal, its success had been very visible. He wished to demonstrate fully how effective the Special Tribunal was. The civil litigation part of it was the truly successful part. The SIU had engaged with colleagues at the NPA Asset Forfeiture Unit to act with speed.
SCOPA had called on the SIU action in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) – to bring about prosecution in terms of financial mismanagement. The SIU wished to prosecute those responsible. Investigations would move at all levels; they would target anyone involved in irregularities. No one would be left out where there was evidence of corruption. The SIU would report to the President every six weeks and hold project reviews every Friday across the provincial offices. He was satisfied that significant progress was being made and that the SIU would be on target to submit the first six-week report to the President on time.
The Chairperson thanked the SIU delegation for the presentation. He indicated that this was a public matter and that transparency was important.
Mr A Lees (DA) said it was early days of the report. It was great to see the SIU was out of the starting blocks and getting going. It had been mentioned speed was of the essence. The SIU had not provided any timelines in the presentation (although it was difficult to do) apart from the six-weekly Presidential report. The presentation had provided a very general picture with no specifics. He acknowledged that it was early days but stressed that SCOPA needed to see the details – the public was very concerned, so was the President etc. It was evident that there were high levels of corruption vis a vis COVID-19 funding. He suggested that Advocate Mothibi share the six-weekly report to the President with SCOPA as well. He wished to keep the public informed on the Unit’s good work to give some confidence to the public that the allegations were being dealt with.
He wanted reassurance that allegations were being investigated with the National Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation regarding the procurement of 17 000 water tanks dumped over the country. The Department did not know where they were and had no arrangements to fill them on a regular basis. Was this part of SIU investigations?
Ms B Van Minnen (DA) said several questions had been pre-empted by Mr Lees. On the prioritisation of matters vis a vis the Special Tribunal; what would the knock-on effects be in regard to other important SIU investigations such as Eskom?
Contracts with an “unknown quantum” had been mentioned in the presentation. Was there a general estimation of the amount?
What were the chances of monies being recovered to ensure it did not all go missing (she knew the SIU was working fast)?
Ms T Marawu (ATM) said she had been worried about the lack of capacity in the SIU and if it had the human resource capacity to deal with investigations.
If possible, could SCOPA receive the details over and above the numbers of cases under investigation. This could be compared to what was being presented in newspapers and different cases in the provinces.
She supported Mr Lees’ request that SCOPA receive the presidential reports if possible.
The Chairperson said that he was interested to hear from the provincial heads of the SIU about the extent to which they were interacting with provincial legislatures. It would be a dereliction of duty on SCOPA’s part to not ensure there was functionality in the provinces insofar as SCOPA was concerned. SCOPA needed to ensure the national versus provincial jurisdictions were functioning. He wished to gauge the extent to which there were interactions with the provinces.
On municipalities, the huge focus on national and provincial departments was good and welcomed, but there had also been adjustments and deviations in funding at municipal level. He suggested that the SIU develop a framework for municipalities. There were many issues that were going wrong in this case (in municipalities relating to procurement). For example, districts had water competence. Mr Lees had raised the issue of JoJo tanks. The issue of water had fallen by the wayside in national attention in light of COVID-19 PPE procurement scandals. However, communities continued to battle and struggle with water issues. There was corruption in the distribution of water. There were deliberate instances of corruption in these cases, and he was drawing from experiences heard from his own home village. There was deliberate hindrance of distribution of water infrastructure to bring in other service providers who benefitted from their connections.
Adv Mothibi said the allegations of SIU processes for mask procurement were taken seriously. He had asked the Auditor-General (AG) to look into the matter. It was receiving a prioritised investigation by the AG. The masks had been bought shortly after the National State of Disaster had been declared. Once finalised, the report would be provided to SCOPA.
On Mr Lees’ question on the speed of investigations, he said speed was of the essence. The SIU teams were on terms with regard to the importance of speed. It was important to ensure the SIU investigated with speed but did not compromise investigations in doing so.
On timelines, he wanted to ensure that the SIU sped up investigations and came out with findings. The first six months would be an indication of the timelines to deal with the allegations received during the period. For example, the SIU was receiving allegations in the Eastern Cape around motor scooters. These had been the first allegations that had come up. He wanted to see these finalised for the President. The door-to-door awareness campaign was another that had been one of the first to come up; he wanted these matters finalised as soon as possible. The SIU Eastern Cape team knew these were prioritised matters.
KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng procurement cases had also received prominence in terms of media publications.
The SIU kept receiving allegations on a weekly basis. Investigations would be phased in order to finalise allegations that had been received in a specific timeline.
On sharing of the report that was to be made available to the President, he would make a note to inform the President of SCOPA’s request.
On the members asking for reassurance in terms of the Department of Water Affairs and water tanks being investigation, according to his information, the allegations would be investigated.
Mr Lekgheto confirmed that the SIU was looking at the water tank allegations.
Adv Mothibi addressed Ms van Minnen’s question about the potential knock on effects on other investigations like Eskom. The SIU was reprioritising resources from certain investigations. However, it had ensured that the important investigations would not be affected. These were, for example, the SOE investigations. The SIU had gone to court recently to enrol a matter in this regard – work was continuing, including referrals for disciplinary action. For example, a Transnet official’s assets had been frozen. The SIU had tried to balance out resources while conducting the COVID-19 investigations. The SIU team in KwaZulu-Natal had required additional legal support; this had been actioned to ensure critical investigations were not disrupted. In terms of cyber forensics, where analysis was conducted on computer imaging, it had been ensured that matters were attended to and not to lose material momentum in other investigations.
On the “unknown quantum”, the SIU usually received allegations that a specific contract had been awarded illegally; the team would then move to the specific state institution in question to begin investigation. This was where they would find the estimates of the amount of money involved. The quantum in the case in question was yet to be established. He expected that quantification would be concluded by this Friday.
On the recovery of monies, this was done through the civil litigation process. All of the recoveries would go to the Special Tribunal. He had already mentioned the issue of Eskom. This had been referred to the High Court based on advice from the legal team. This matter would be sent to the Special Tribunal to conclude quickly.
In response to Ms Marawu, he said the SIU continuously applied its minds to resources across the provinces to ensure there was support across the teams.
On Ms Marawu’s request for details on cases to allow SCOPA members to check and perform oversight, the SIU would look to enhance the list provided and resend it with additional details for members.
On the question of interaction with provincial SCOPAs, he asked his colleague from the Eastern Cape, the Provincial Chairperson, Ms Zodwa Buswana, to expand on the matter. He had received information that there had been interaction with Provincial SCOPA in the province.
Ms Buswana was not present.
Mr Ashish Gosai, SIU Durban Executive Manager, informed the Committee that interactions with SCOPA had already been held. This had involved a presentation on investigations and outcomes that the province was being assisted in following up on.
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial fusion team was working in collaboration with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI / the Hawks), the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and the AG on sharing information. There had been numerous interactions in that regard.
Advocate Mothibi said this was just an example of the kinds of interactions that were taking place in the provinces. He wished it to continue to enable provincial SCOPAs to do their work effectively.
On the issue around municipal level investigation frameworks, the question came at the right time. The SIU was going to create a forum spearheading the matter with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). The terms of reference had been completed and it was in the process of signing off on stakeholders. These included the NPA, the Hawks, FIC, SALGA, COGTA, and municipal representatives. It was similar to what had been done in the health sector. The health sector framework had worked well. He wished to take this framework to municipal level.
He noted the Chairperson had mentioned something that had become very apparent – the corruption in distribution of water tanks. There was an urgent need to look into this space and he undertook to do so.
Mr M Dirks (ANC) said that when Adv Mothibi had responded; he had raised the issue of mask procurement at the SIU. Was the amount R58 000 or R58 million?
Mr Lees said there was another issue that had become apparent. SCOPA had been due to make a site visit to the project on the north border fence with Zimbabwe. He wanted to confirm this was under the SIU’s attention. It concerned the DPWI and costs of R40 million.
An EFF MP said most of her questions had been taken. The issue of time frames was important.
In Limpopo, she had only one matter to raise: the constructed shelters in Tzaneen. The beneficiaries had since complained about human habitation in these shelters.
She was covered on the matter of tenders relating to water tankers.
On Eskom, it was in a state of collapse. She did not remember Adv Mothibi speaking on Eskom. She did not see anything in the presentation speaking to the misconduct of the COO of Eskom, Mr Jan Oberholzer.
The Chairperson said the issue of the Eskom COO was on SCOPA’s radar; it did not relate to the day’s meeting which was focused on COVID-19. When SCOPA met with the SIU again regarding Eskom, the matter would be discussed.
Mr B Hadebe (ANC) said he had unfortunately not seen the presentation due to connectivity issues. He had however heard everything that was said.
He had a question about the assistance from Provincial and National Treasury. Based on the circular/instruction from National Treasury (Instruction Eight, 2019/20), state departments and SOEs had been directed that, when procuring services under COVID-19, they were to report it to National Treasury within 30 days of procurement.
A recent team of ministers had been announced on 5 August 2020. To what extent were they assisting with the SIU process? He had thought this pronouncement was a re-publication of the July 2020 announcement. Would it hinder the speed of implementation? He wished to avoid duplications that would not yield positive results. The public and SCOPA were frustrated and impatient; they wished to see culprits imprisoned.
Adv Mothibi addressed the question on the R40 million border fence. It was one of the first matters the SIU had become involved in. The SIU’s involvement was on a secondment basis. The DPWI had approached the SIU for assistance. There had been a swift turnaround time of around two to three weeks. The SIU had handed its report to the Department. At that moment, the SIU had not included the details of the matter. It was, however, under the attention of Dr Wells. It was on the way to the Special Tribunal to recover the monies involved as soon as possible. There had been several findings and irregularities and the SIU was committed to holding those responsible to account.
On the masks value of the SIU procurement, the contract costed R58 000. The SIU took the allegations very seriously. Firstly, it concerned colleagues internally. The SIU had operational risks like any organisation, but it had to be exemplary due to the nature of its work, no matter the amount. He did not expect to see these irregularities anywhere within the SIU, or anywhere in the state.
On the Limpopo shelters matter, the Limpopo team was dealing with the matter at that time. He would ensure it was appropriately attended to and knew it was one to be prioritised.
Mr Lekgheto confirmed the matter was receiving attention in Limpopo along with other matters that had been recently received. He would continue to indicate the progress.
Adv Mothibi noted the comments on Eskom. This was the reason that he had referred to the potential knock on effects to other investigations in the presentation. The SIU had ensured that the re-balancing of resources did not impact on pre-existing priority investigations. They were ensuring that the Eskom matter resulted in prosecutions. The COO was being looked into. The SIU was examining the gaps in the report submitted by Eskom.
On Mr Hadebe’s question, he had looked at the various instruction notes set by National Treasury and checked for compliance. This included the reporting requirements that had been set out for procurement. The SIU would then indicate whether there had been any state institutions not complying with these.
On the recent ministerial appointments headed by Mr Lamola, these involved the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS). The focus was on collating contracts and ensuring they were included in the repository. Regarding law enforcement agencies, he would seek to ensure the completeness of investigations that were being done. The list would provide the SIU with the “value at risk”. The investigations were allegations-based. Assurance was conducted by the AG doing real-time auditing.
He thanked the Committee for their comments and questions.
The Chairperson asked how much the projected cost of the investigations would be. Were the resources the SIU required available? It was important to have confidence that the plans, outlines and terms of reference could be implemented with the resources available.
Adv Mothibi said the SIU had considered the costs matter. Normally the teams across the provinces conducted assessments in terms of their resource requirements. This related to legal, forensic investigators etc. They then quantified their resources per investigation. This work continued in parallel to the investigations. The SIU had also engaged with National Treasury and the Director General in particular to quantify the costs involved and the potential for additional funds. He did not have the exact amount available yet based on the teams’ assessments. This would be made available to the Committee by Friday 21 August 2020.
The Chairperson said he would be interested in the financial implications of the investigations. The tragedy of South Africa was that money was made available for development, but then money had to be spent investigating where that money had gone, how it had been spent, and how it would be recovered. In public procurement it was not the case in South Africa where the money was simply allocated and spent where it was meant to be.
He thanked Advocate Mothibi.
SCOPA wished to receive the border report. It was important. He was unsure how readily available the report was and if it would be complete by the end of the week.
The SCOPA oversight visit to Beitbridge would continue. He awaited the National Treasury and AG reports which would be read in conjunction with the SIU report. These would be the next opportunity for oversights.
On the issue of the SIU reports being delegated as presidential according to the legal provisions, he said he would call the presidency and ask it to come in front of SCOPA to appear to speak to what had to be done in the reports they received.
On the AG investigations into allegations against the SIU, the AG would present on the matter to SCOPA. This was about the procurement of masks. It was important to receive the report from those doing the investigation in each case.
He wished to consult legal services for drafting matters. This would be done on Friday 21 August 2020. This would give direction to the constitution of the anti-corruption task team that was currently in disarray. Entities were continuing to engage with law enforcement in isolation or as individuals, rather than as a team. This undermined effective oversight and consequence management of institutions. He wished it to be resolved in the Friday meeting in conjunction with the Inter-Ministerial Committee. He asked his SCOPA colleagues to provide their input prior to Friday. The Committee would resolve a draft on Friday. It was a dereliction of duty to allow the anti-corruption task team to continue in disarray. He urged them to act in conjunction with one another. Lapses in the system and communication were emboldening the actions of corrupt officials. He hoped to resuscitate the anti-corruption task team.
He thanked his colleagues and the SIU. He expected the SIU to move with necessary speed and urgency. SCOPA had received the terms of reference and framework of operation in this meeting. The next meeting would be about results. SCOPA accepted what had been said by the SIU. The issues raised were receiving attention. He believed that if the SIU and SCOPA did not move from that point with speed, they would be aiding and emboldening corruption. Only when concrete action was taken, could corruption be confronted.
He asked Advocate Mothibi to communicate the budgetary issues from National Treasury to SCOPA by the end of the week. He welcomed the presentation. He knew it concerned a moving target as corruption continued to unfold. He asked that SCOPA receive clear progress indications from the SIU in their report. SCOPA would do what it needed to do on its side. There would be no tolerance of corruption. SCOPA would be referring other matters that came to its attention to the SIU where necessary.
Friday’s meeting on the anti-corruption task team would involve reporting to SCOPA as the parliamentary body. He wanted there to be understanding that SCOPA would be keenly focused on its work. The Committee had invited the law enforcement agencies across the spectrum to be present. Attendance was compulsory given the corruption challenges being faced. He asked his colleagues and the legal team to look at the draft resolution ahead of the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.