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Zuma orders Usaasa graft probe

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has instructed the Special Investigating Unit to investigate allegations of maladministration at the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA (Usaasa).

“The SIU is further authorised to investigate the agency's funding, by way of a subsidy in the amount of R500 million, to a service provider for the construction and expansion of an electronic communications network for Emalahleni local municipality,” Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement on Tuesday.

President Jacob Zuma. Credit: GCIS

The SIU would also investigate the procurement of services in relation to the Rapid Deployment of Public Access Facilities Programme.

The Universal Service and Access Agency of SA focuses on providing technological access to “underserviced” areas of the country.

It wants every South African to have universal access to broadband by 2020.

Maharaj said the probe would look into allegations of serious maladministration in connection with the affairs of Usaasa and its board, including:

The probe followed allegations of corruption and maladministration contained in a United Democratic Movement (UDM) open letter to Zuma last year.

In the letter, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa asked Zuma’s office to intervene.

He claimed that the then Communications Minister Dina Pule and other senior department officials had approved a multimillion-rand application by Cell C for the roll-out of broadband infrastructure in the eMalahleni municipality.

Holomisa alleged the application was approved despite not being subjected to the normal adjudication process, as required by the Electronic Communications Act.

He said that had it not been for the refusal of Usaasa executive Mmatlou Morudu to implement the project, the money would have been released.

Holomisa called for the suspension of the agency’s senior management and Pule, who has since been replaced by Yunus Carrim.

Sapa

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