Tender irregularities found in department

2011-09-19 14:25

Tender irregularities of about R3 billion were uncovered in a probe into the public works department, minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde said today.

“We know of more than 40 cases where tenders were awarded improperly, where procedures were not followed and dishonesty took place,” said the public works minister in a statement.

“We know of irregular expenditure, what appears to be false book-keeping and have discovered evidence of corruption by department officials.”

Criminal charges were likely to be brought against several officials and outsiders.
Her department would “tighten up” the leasing of properties.

“I cannot wave a magic wand and cure the ills of corruption overnight,” she said. “What has to be done is for the department to become more vigilant in ensuring that proper tender procedures are followed.”

The investigation was done by the department and the Special Investigations Unit.
The minister, who was appointed ten months ago, admitted that her department had failed South Africans.

“I was inadvertently handed a poisoned chalice. I inherited a situation where serious irregularities had occurred. It was extraordinarily difficult to get to the truth of what had been taking place because some officials did everything they could to obstruct my investigations,” said Mahlangu-Nkabinde.

“Frankly, I have been lied to and deceived by people who, instead of serving the people of South Africa, were intent on lining their own pockets.”

She vowed to root out corrupt personnel. “I cannot undo what was done in the past but I can assure South Africa that the government will not tolerate corruption and dishonesty,” she said.

“It will take me many months to unravel all that has happened but it will be done.”

She said the irregularities had overshadowed the ministry’s good work. “Under the circumstances it would be unrealistic to expect that the department will be given a clean bill of health by the Auditor General.” 

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