Public works implements protector's advice
Johannesburg - The public works minister has no intention of challenging the public protector's report on two questionable leases in court and was already implementing its recommendations, the department said on Friday.
"For the record, the minister [Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde] has no intention to ask the courts to review the public protector's report," spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said in a statement.
"In fact, the minister has already made a public pronouncement that the report of the public protector was well-received by her and the department of public works (DPW) and that she respects the office of the public protector.
"In this regard, the minister is currently implementing the recommendations of the public protector," he said.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her first report, "Against the Rules", in February, in which she found a multimillion-rand lease for new Pretoria police headquarters to be unlawful and invalid.
She released a second report, titled "Against the Rules Too", in July, on the lease of Durban's Transnet building to the police,
Madonsela recommended that President Jacob Zuma take action against Mahlangu-Nkabinde for failing to co-operate with a probe into the two leases.
Action against employees
National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele was also chastised as the accounting officer for the leases signed for the police with businessman Roux Shabangu.
Mkhwanazi said Mahlangu-Nkabinde had already met with the ministers of finance and public service and administration to discuss taking action against department employees who had allegedly broken the law regarding the leases.
She also introduced a six-month moratorium on new tenders so that supply chain management systems could be independently audited to identify weaknesses.
They were training technical staff on the Public Finance Management Act, Treasury regulations and other prescripts on procurement, as well as reviewing contracts and centralising them with the legal services unit.
Other plans included the review and reconstitution of the National Bid Adjudication Committee to ensure legal compliance regarding government procurement.
At her request, the justice department and the Treasury sent her names of people who could be seconded to her department to ensure transparency and fairness.
A submission on the recruitment of specialist property lawyers to deal with large-scale transactions had also been finalised.
The department would review the delegation of powers to junior officials to reduce high-finance risk, and would institute a skills and qualifications audit of senior managers to see whether the department had the right skills and knowledge for the various job functions so that it could work effectively.
The department would also discuss the possibility of formulating a policy around building accommodation for client departments above the procurement of long-term leases of lower-grade buildings.