ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE HEART OF TRUST
Article by: Emma Clayfield
Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has addressed the nation today, in a live media briefing, to inform the public on the findings of their internal investigations on fraud and corruption.
Lindiwe says the former minister of water and sanitation stood firm in saying when Sisulu joined the department it was already declared as bankrupt and so did the auditor general.
Sisulu went on to assure that under her tenure matters relating to corruption will be paid special attention. She said that she will do all she can to push back on any public perception of corruption by her department.
From the date of Minister Sisulu joining the Human Settlement, Water & Sanitation department, she was met with a great deal of internal healing and repairing to deal with, on top of reviving a near death department by dealing with over 200 reported cases of fraud and corruption within the department.
The first thing we did was to put together all the cases in the department that had to do with corruption and maladministration into one basket, so that they can be dealt with accordingly – said Sisulu.
The department started under her leadership with a loan as the administration was declared bankrupt from the inception of her term.
The minister said they have finished with this section of corruption cases and we are therefore putting them to rest, as the people who are responsible for these cases are members that were essential and were expected to oversee the smooth running of the department. Thes cases include allegations on the basis of irregular expenditure, which will be overseen and addressed to the public by the Director General Mr Mbulelo Tshangana.
Sisulu said that they have cleaned their system and have gotten to the end of this with a great deal of gratitude going out to the specialists and the investigating team, who were working tirelessly on these cases.
It is confirmed that the Director General has established a stabilisation committee and brought around a number of people to help him in this instance, in attempt to revive the dignity of the department. This will assist gravely in an attempt to help restructure the department and bring stability and responsibility. This is an attempt to improve the departments audit findings confirmed the Minister.
Sisulu says they have investigated 249 cases and 139 of them were found to be true and referred to disciplinary cases procedures. 110 were found to be untrue and were removed from the roll. Of the 139 the DG will deal with in detail as it is his environment said Sisulu. In which the DG will read out to the public.
Numbers and amounts attached to these cases of corruption have been released in newspapers and were made available to the public.
Part of process of preparedness for a clean audit is in an attempt to take a closer look at auditing all of the water boards Lindiwe Sisulu stated that so far her department has started with two boards and are going on to the third one! Confirming that these two are the ones that were mostly affected by the draught.
The boards that she is referring to are, Amatola water board in the Eastern Cape and the second being Lapelle Northern Water in Limpopo.
The pair reaffirmed that the mission is to ensure that all their boards are thriving to be in a state that they can vouch for and for the departments resources to be looked after.
The CEO of Amatola board in the Eastern Cape, was asked by the board to go on precautionary suspension to allow the process of investigations to commence. The board will the need to come back with a report on how they have dealt with the case.
Sisulu confirmed that this will be done with every board that the department sees reason to look into and will probe all necessary investigations.
The Department has over a period of time, suffered from matters of maladministration and the misuse of funds said Sisulu.
Director General Tshangana added that the department had already taken action, opening 21 cases with the police against the perpatrators. The DG added that 138 officials have been found guilty, of which 11 were at management level. Tshangana said 86 were made up of general workers and middle management, while 16 officials were found not guilty.
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