Eastern Cape DoE a hotbed of corruption

The Eastern Cape department of education is a fertile ground for graft to flourish because it does not have a specialised unit to investigate allegations of corruption.

Picture: FILE

This was the view of the Public Service Commission (PSC) when it appeared before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) at the Eastern Cape legislature yesterday.

According to PSC commissioner Singata Mafanya, it was this lack of capacity, which he described as “unacceptable”, that led to “financial loss of R61.6-million from irregular single source bidding” in 2014.

Mafanya also told the Scopa meeting how the PSC had received, through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH) 40 cases from the department in the period between July 2015 and last week.

Of these 40 cases reported to PSC, only nine were finalised while the remainder were still pending.

Mafanya said the department did not to take the issue of corruption seriously as there were no signs of attempts to establish a unit to investigate corruption within.

“That is unacceptable because it is in violation of legislation that requires that each department should have minimum anti-corruption capacity,” said Mafanya.

He said MEC Mandla Makupula had been informed about this and that he had made an undertaking to address the matter.

“The anti-corruption unit at the office of the premier [OTP] was engaged for assistance and intervention in resolving the cases without much success,” Mafanya told the meeting, chaired by Scopa chairman Max Mhlathi.

“Delays in investigating and finalising the cases referred reflect bad performance, not only on the part of departments but also provincially.”

According to section 85 (1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PMFA), all public service departments, upon completion of disciplinary proceedings on financial conduct, must submit a report to a number of bodies, including the PSC.

The status of NACH cases across all provincial departments was not a rosy one either.

Mafanya said the common allegations reported were fraud, followed by procurement irregularities and nepotism.

Across provincial departments a total of 157 cases had been reported. Of these, just 34 were completed and closed while a staggering 104 were still pending. The status of the remaining 19 was not made clear.

Scopa members welcomed the PSC presentation, saying it provided crucial information from which provincial departments can learn to combat corruption and improve governance. — zingisam@dispatch.co.za


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