De Lille calls for meeting with new Public Works Minister following R300 million cybercrime theft probe

Minister Patricia de Lille. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Minister Patricia de Lille. File Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 11, 2024


Patricia de Lille says she will meet with Department Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) Minister, Dean Macpherson, following a revelation that hackers stole R300 million from the department over 10 years.

De Lille, currently Minister of Tourism, said she will further request a copy of the report for the period relevant to her time at the DPWI.

"I hereby wish to state that I was the Minister of DPWI for just under four years, there were two other Ministers at DPWI during the 10-year period referred to in the new Minister's statement.

"During my time, I was able to recover R253m related to leases where government was overcharged. I had an agreement with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), who seconded two SIU officials to help investigate all allegations in DPWI," De Lille said in a short statement.

She added that once she has seen the report, relevant to her time in office, she will be able to respond further.

"During my tenure at DPWI, wherever any irregularities and alleged corruption was uncovered, I acted swiftly to report matters to the Auditor General and the SIU," De Lille said.

Earlier this week, Macpherson revealed that in May, cyber-attackers stole a further R24 million. This prompted a full forensic investigation by the Hawks, South African Police Service, State Security Agency and experts in the ICT and cyber security industry.

Macpherson said it had become clear that the department has been a soft target and playground for cyber criminals for over a 10 year period and this should have been picked up a lot earlier.

"I felt it important to let South Africa know what has happened and what we are doing about it. I cannot discount the possibility of collusion between officials and criminals in this prolonged period of theft. It is clear that we need better financial controls which I have said to the department are a matter of urgency," he said.

He further welcomed the precautionary suspension of four individuals, including senior managers and the seizure of over 30 laptops for further examination by the investigative teams.

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