Gauteng Premier David Makhura has sworn to crack the whip on corruption and reaffirmed the need for a caring, capable, competent and ethical provincial government.
During his state of the province address on Tuesday, Makhura said allegations of personal protective equipment (PPE) graft against government officials had presented the need for stricter measures to be taken to curb fraudulent activities.
He said the allegations had reversed any gains made in the past five years and had significantly eroded public trust in government.
Last year Bandile Masuku made headlines when he was axed from his position as Gauteng health MEC following allegations of PPE corruption.
“The procurement irregularities and corruption allegations during the pandemic have forced us to go back and review the efficacy of all the anti-corruption measures. We will strengthen our prevention, detection, investigation and resolution procedures, and push ahead with the institutionalisation of clean governance,” Makhura said.
The Gauteng government has finalised 73 forensic investigations and 66 cases have been referred to law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation and civil recovery processes.
Members of the executive council have submitted their details for the lifestyle audits that are being conducted by the State Security Agency (SSA) and the outcomes thereof will be made public.
The vetting will also be extended to senior officials to the level of supply chain management officials.
So far, at least 65% of senior managers and 70% of supply chain management officials have been vetted by the SSA and the rest will be completed during the year.
“I am determined to ensure that the office of the premier leads by example in all respects,” Makhura said.
The plan is to roll out open tender and integrity management systems in all municipalities to improve the ethical environment, as most districts have received poor audit outcomes from the Auditor-General.”
“We remain committed to integrity and ethics in the Gauteng city region. The implementation of the open tender system, the introduction of integrity management measures, the significant advances on clean audits and the four-year-old partnership with the Special Investigating Unit stands as testimony to our commitment to fighting corruption and promoting clean governance,” he said.
Makhura said that the spotlight was going to be shone on every department and agency that is not taking clean governance seriously, and the province would tighten prevention, detection, investigation and resolution systems.
The premier spoke about the regression which the province saw in the audit for the 2019/20 financial year across all departments and entities.
The office of the premier and the provincial treasury previously managed to obtain clean audit reports.
“We are not going to retreat from our goal of seeking to achieve 100% clean audit outcomes. The sixth administration has a duty to maintain and even surpass the track record of the previous administration.”
“During the fifth administration, we improved clean audit outcomes from 54% to 65% and the balance of the departments and entities obtained unqualified audit reports. We eliminated disclaimers and adverse findings completely from the audit outcomes of the province because we cracked the whip,” he said.
The progress made in containing the Covid- 19 pandemic was also mentioned, with the premier saying the province was intending on vaccinating about 10 million residents.
“We must also say, without equivocation, vaccines constitute the decisive weapon against pandemics. The vaccination plan has to be rolled out urgently and massively to save lives and enable the economy to recover fully
“We have come a long way in building a credible response and there is no time for complacency and cynicism. We need to put our country, our province and the people above any petty professional rivalries and political squabbles,” said the premier.
He commended President Cyril Ramaphosa and the national government for leading the battle against Covid-19.
“It has not been an easy process and many mistakes may have been committed, but the determination to save lives and protect livelihoods is beyond question.”
“We must thank our president and the national executive for leading our country well through the storm. We begin to see some glimmer of hope as we enter a new phase of vaccination,” he said.