By Andrew Irumba
Cape Town, South Africa: President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorized the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate suspected wrong doing by public servants and persons or entities in the private sector in the awarding of tenders or contracts by the national Department of Water and Sanitation and the Ekurhuleni and Ethekhwini metropolitan municipalities.
The Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) will also be investigated for alleged maladministration in relation to the allocation of discretionary grant funding to a number of companies which will themselves also be probed.
The latest proclamations signed by President Ramaphosa complement a number of investigations called for by the President since his undertaking in the February 2018 State of the Nation Address that & ldquo; this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions & rdquo;.
President Ramaphosa also made it clear in the State of the Nation Address that the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Judge Raymond Zondo would not displace the regular work of the country & rsquo’s law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting any and all acts of corruption.
In terms of the latest proclamations, the SIU will investigate the national Department of Water and Sanitation for alleged serious maladministration and unlawful expenditure of public money in the procurement or contracting of information technology services from the enterprise software provider SAP SE (SAP).
The SIU will look into allegations that the procurement of, or contracting for, information technology-related services from SAP had not been fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective, and that legislation, guidelines or policies had been flouted.
The SIU has also been tasked to investigate any improper or unlawful conduct by personnel of the Department of Water and Sanitation or SAP, or any other person or entity, as well as the causes of such conduct, and any losses, damage or actual or potential prejudice suffered by the department or the State.
The investigation will focus on a period between January 2015 and the present, although unlawful or improper conduct prior to January 2015 that is deemed relevant to this matter will be taken into account.
In the case of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, the SIU investigation relates to alleged serious maladministration and improper or unlawful conduct by employees, officials, agents or contractors of the municipality, arising from the procurement of goods and services for the construction of the Vosloorus Hospital Public Transport Facility and the Bluegum View Public Transport Facility.
The SIU will investigate claims that procurement for these projects during a period around February 2014 had been unauthorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful and that procurement had not been fair, competitive, equitable or cost-effective.
With regard to the Ethekhwini Metropolitan Municipality, the SIU has been authorized to investigate the allegedly irregular award of a tender – in a period around January 2014 – for the supply to the municipality of waste recycling bags.
This investigation will look into alleged fraudulent and any related un-authorised, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, under performance or non-performance by contractors, and the conduct of directors of the company or companies involved in this tender.
President Ramaphosa has also, in terms of Section 2(4) of the Special Investigating Unit and Special Tribunals Act, 1996, amended Proclamation No R16 of 2018 which encompasses an SIU investigation into the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA).
The SIU will investigate alleged maladministration in the affairs of the MICT SETA in relation to the allocation of discretionary grant funding to Lylacorp (Pty) Ltd; Network Infraco (Pty) Ltd; Bandwidth Technologies; Inforcomm (Pty) Ltd; Hallmark Technologies CC; SPL Communications CC; Centre tech Broadcasting CC; Northern Lights Trading 371 (Pty) Ltd; Basfour 273 (Pty) Ltd trading as Nashua Mangaung and Broadband College of Technology (Pty) Ltd, and any losses or prejudice suffered by the MICT SETA or the State as a result of such maladministration.
The SIU will also probe any undisclosed or un-authorised interests which officials or employees of the MICT SETA may have in the above mentioned entities and the extent of any benefit so derived by officials or employees of the education and training authority.