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North West - The suspension of 15 senior managers suspected of involvement in tender irregularities was unprecedented, North West premier Thandi Modise's office said on Thursday.
It was reacting to a claim by Democratic Alliance provincial leader Chris Hattingh that the North West government was unable to appoint efficient and corruption-free heads of provincial departments.
“The levels of fraud, corruption, irregularities and non-delivery appear to reach new levels year after year,” Hattingh said.
The premier's spokesman Lesiba Kgwele countered that it was unfortunate Hattingh preferred to remain “a useful tool to those that are hell-bent on protecting corruption syndicates that have been plundering state resources with impunity over the years”.
Kgwele said the DA had been silent on the corruption in road construction tenders, North West transport investment and pupil transport recently exposed by Modise and her executive council.
He said the premier's office had acted decisively against incompetent heads of departments and senior managers, and those involved in fraud and corruption.
The province was also putting measures in place for an intervention plan to improve financial management as part of operation clean audit 2014.
Kgwele said the premier's office will issue a comprehensive response at a later stage to all the issues the DA had raised.
Hattingh said in his statement that the provincial government had failed to obtain a clean audit report for a third consecutive year.
He said the Auditor General (AG) had pointed to several problems in the premier's office, including the absence of adequate systems to maintain accurate and complete records for major assets.
The AG had also found irregular spending of about R163 million and underspending of the budget of R24.2m.
“According to the AG, only 10 of the 26 North West public entities could be audited and produce annual reports,” said Hattingh. - Sapa