KZN Transport Department officials refusing to discipline staff: Report
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Durban: A KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport investigation report has revealed that its own managers are refusing to discipline employees who have been implicated in allegations of wrongdoing, if they disagree with the findings of the investigations.
The report, tabled before the transport portfolio committee this week, claimed that in many instances supervisors disagreed with the findings of the investigations and were hesitant to institute disciplinary action, stalling the process.
The department’s report focused on several allegations that include bribery, fraud and the abuse of department vehicles. It said that 30 cases relating to misconduct were being handled by the labour relations directorate.
The report also revealed that it was investigating a number of incidents in which staff members failed to follow procurement regulations, resulting in findings of irregular expenditure.
Among the challenges the department faced in disciplining errant staff was “the refusal by some immediate supervisors to institute disciplinary actions, as they may disagree with the findings of the investigations”.
It also said that affected officials did not communicate with labour relations as to the reasons for not implementing the disciplinary process, and there was a lack of capacity of the labour relations component to deliver according to expectations due to vacant posts within that component.
The report also revealed that many more officials could face possible sanction because they were implicated in irregular expenditure.
Among the irregularities identified was an expired contract for a company for which there were 169 transactions, to the value of R1bn.
Regarding the supply chain management policy which states that three quotes must be obtained, it was found that there was a failure to adhere to the policy for 14 transactions which had a value of R 1m. In addition the competitive bidding process was not followed for 136 transactions which had a value of R 1.3bn.
The department said it had appointed a service provider to investigate and make a determination of irregular expenditure, and to recommend necessary actions.
DA committee member Sharon Hoosen said it was shocking that some supervisors did not want to discipline their staff.
“That the very supervisors responsible for the management of these departments – who also initially failed to identify the misconduct – are now failing to implement the decision of the investigative report is adding more salt to the wound,” she said.
“The department has accumulated a staggering amount in irregular expenditure – more than R17bn,” she said
Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said it would implement consequence management to ensure that fraud and corruption would not go unpunished.
He said the department was working to address the issue of irregular expenditure internally, and was working with other state organs like the Special Investigating Unit to probe all allegations that touched on fraud and maladministration.
Acting head of the Department of Transport Zakhele Mnqayi said it was not the simple question of supervisors refusing to do their jobs but the issue was more complex as some of the cases of irregular expenditure, where they were supposed to discipline their subordinates, dated back to 2013 and some people that were involved in the irregular expenditure were no longer at the department and this complicated the disciplinary process.
He said the department would scrutinise such cases to determine what led to the supervisors not carrying out their duties.
He said the department had also disciplined a number of people that have been implicated in wrongdoing.