Unit aims to clean up Public Works

2013-06-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A special investigating unit aims to expose all possible cases of corruption and fraud in the Public Works Department.

The unit focuses on irregular tenders, rental agreements, the government’s prestige portfolio (ministers’ homes) and irregularities in the department’s procurement process.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said in reply to a question by ANC MP Celiwe Madlopha, that the department was doing everything in its power to combat corruption and fraud. Madlopha wanted to know from Nxesi what he was doing to stop corruption and fraud in the department.

Nxesi said the unit was helping the department in terms of Proclamation R38 of 2010 to identify and investigate transgressions. He said the unit also identified problems in the department’s procurement process, recovering losses and laying criminal charges against transgressors where necessary.

Nxesi said the unit was already investigating more than 40 cases of irregularities in rental agreements. Twenty-three of these investigations had been completed. Six officials were suspended after the investigations and three, including a deputy director, had been fired.

The department also took legal steps against a chief director and one deputy director-general to recover money lost to fraud.

The unit’s investigation into extraordinarily high prices for work on ministerial homes in Pretoria had also just been concluded. The unit suggested disciplinary steps against several officials.

The department’s procurement policy is also being strengthened to combat corruption and fraud.

Nxesi said the department had also concluded investigations of more than 2 700 rental contracts.

These contracts are for buildings that house several state departments.

More than 1 300 of these contracts must now be renewed or amended.

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