MEC acts on dept corruption

2011-04-02 00:00

THE provincial Human Settlements Department is cracking down on public officials involved in low-cost housing fraud, the MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works Maggie Govender said yesterday.

In her speech during the budget presentation at the Legislature, Govender revealed that R3 044 012 had been allocated to the department for the 2011/2012 financial year. The money would be used for housing development, housing asset management and property management, housing needs, research and planning.

Govender said a probe by a special investigation unit (SIU), which was mandated to investigate fraud, corruption and maladministration in low-income housing, has resulted in the department recovering more than R12 million.

During the last financial year, Govender said 223 government employees were identified as not qualifying for housing subsidies and they had signed acknowledgement of debts totaling R2,8 million.

Furthermore, 54 dockets to the value of R500 000 were registered with the South African Police Force resulting in 53 successful prosecutions.

Another 146 disciplinary cases against various government employees within the province were successfully finalised with the help of the task team and the premier’s office.

The MEC said there are 76 cases against government employees who had misrepresented themselves by producing falsified salary advices to gain the benefit of an institutional subsidy in an institutional housing project.

She also fired a warning salvo to contractors, saying shoddy work will not be tolerated. The department had tightened internal control measures to ensure that the work produced is of quality standards, she added.

Shoddy workmanship is to cost the department over a billion rand in houses that are to be demolished because of their poor condition.

Govender said: “It has become apparent that the contract needed to be redrafted and a clause inserted to make sure that the deadlines are met.”

Contractors would no longer be allowed to cede their work to third parties because the department wants to retain control of all the contracts and ensure quality service delivery on time and within the budget.

“Since April 2010 to March this year, a total of 12 implementing agents were placed on terms for breach of their contracts or had their contract cancelled,” said Govender.

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