Ruthless tactics are needed to root out the corrupt and inept
In the latest incident, a senior Transnet manager has gone to court to demand an investigation into a R463million fuel and gas pipeline project between Durban and Gauteng.
Phumlani Khubeka says workmanship on the project, mired in corruption, was so poor that the final product had to be destroyed.
Kubheka says he reported corruption at Transnet in October 2015, when he discovered that R463m was paid to a contractor despite the shoddy work.
For his trouble, he was placed on suspension.
This matter coincides with the release of Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu’s reports on the financial affairs of several state entities in recent days.
The themes are similar, no matter the institution: financial statements in such bad order that he was unable to express an audit opinion; no systems to identify irregular expenditure, and fruitless and wasteful expenditure; no evidence that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who had incurred irregular expenditure; and non-compliance with procurement and contract management regulations and legislation.
In some instances, the same institutions receive the same scathing reports in successive years, but without any evidence of any action being taken to hold those responsible to account.
And the amounts at stake are not small.
Makwetu’s office reported that irregular expenditure nearly trebled in just one year - rising from R31billion to R86bn, in clear evidence of the absolute lack of commitment to clean up the rot.
This also speaks clearly to the lack of political will to address the matter.
All that the public enterprises portfolio committee could do was express “deep concern” over the ballooning irregular expenditure.
How SAA got away with not tabling its financial statements for two consecutive years - and not for the first time - goes a long way to explaining the dire state of finances at our parastatals.
Only by ruthlessly going after the corrupt and the inept will we ever have hope of plugging the leaks.