Scopa demands answers from Presidency on SIU investigations, suspended public works DG Sam Vukela

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Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.
  • Scopa has lamented the Presidency's delays in busting those involved in corruption uncovered by the SIU.
  • Mondli Gungubele pleaded with Scopa members for time to report back on the matters.
  • Gungubele is expected to meet the committee in January 2022.

Fed-up members of Parliament's finance watchdog Scopa have warned the Presidency to act on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reports and drop the laissez-faire attitude.

On Thursday night, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) was due to receive a briefing on all SIU matters as well as the suspension of public works and infrastructure director-general (DG) Sam Vukela.

READ | Inside government's mounting director-general vacancy crisis and what it means

However, Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele pleaded with the committee to allow him to engage President Cyril Ramaphosa's office to take all matters forward.

On the Vukela matter, Gungubele said: "I found the matter in the process. I looked at the basis of suspension, and I felt that the suspension was correct. There are several disputes and, if we are to talk in terms of court, we would say the matter is sub judice, but there is no such thing in a matter like this. That matter is in process."

Earlier in the week, the SIU reported on its investigations into personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts.

It found Gauteng's health department paid several service providers more than R400 million for various PPE items, even though the companies were not registered as suppliers of medical devices.

The Competition Commission is to investigate the high prices.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) were asked to investigate fraud because the companies were not registered as medical device suppliers.

ANC MP Bheki Hadebe said there was concern regarding the implementing of recommendations of matters finalised by the SIU.

"We don't want a taxi rank approach in this matter. Taxis, despite having passengers, will only leave when it is full. We don't want a situation where the Presidency waits for the final report to act, yet some findings and cases have been concluded. If we expedite that process, it will give us comfort," he said.

EFF MP Veronica Mente said there was a laissez-faire attitude at the Presidency in dealing with these matters.

"We cannot sit here and be thankful for availing yourself after three years. There are deputy ministers that must come and account. I am not thankful that you came. You are supposed to be here," she said.

READ ALSO | Former Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa to appear in court more than a decade after corruption claims

Other MPs agreed that Gungubele should return to the committee early in the new year to report back on the matters.

The head of the SIU, Andy Mothibe, said investigation matters were submitted to the Presidency - and, where necessary, they would make referrals to the NPA and other law enforcement agencies.

Committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they would strive to ensure the committee took action and did not become a talk shop.

The committee resolved to meet with Gungubele on the first available date in January 2022.

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