Rustenburg - North West premier Supra Mahumapelo on Thursday welcomed the raids by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) at his office.
"In all my state of the province addresses since 2014, I have always emphasised the importance of all of us, as directed by our organisation, the ANC, to intensify at all fronts, the campaign against greed, crime and corruption. In this regard, the North West government adopted a monthly Setsokotsane programme focusing on 10 campaigns, which includes this matter," said Mahumapelo hours after Hawks investigators began the raid.
The Hawks seized several documents from different offices in the Premier's office during the raid.
"The Hawks in the North West have conducted a search and seizure operation at the offices of the North West Premier today.[ Thursday]. The operation follows investigations in relation to alleged maladministration, fraud and corruption. The monetary value involved is approximately R160 million," said Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso.
Rikhotso said several documents which would assist in the ongoing probe were seized from different offices.
Read more: Hawks seize several documents at Mahumapelo's office
"No arrests were effected at this stage pending further investigation. This is an ongoing probe and we cannot divulge any further information. Investigations continue," she said.
Mahumapelo responded by pointing to his most recent state of the province address in Marikana on February 23, when he reiterated that the South Africa’s law enforcement agencies must be allowed to do their work without fear, favour or prejudice.
"That is why, as the Office of the Premier, we welcome and support the initiative taken by the Hawks this morning, in relation to allegations of fraud and corruption within sections of supply chain management in the Office of the Premier and department of finance."
He said the provincial government had instituted various ongoing investigations, such as the Special Investigative Unit in the department of public works and roads, forensic investigations in the departments of health, local government and human settlements, and other departments, including some municipalities.
Also read: #Hawks raid offices of North West Premier #SupraMahumapelo
"It is important for all of us, irrespective of our positions within government and elsewhere, to allow our offices to be subjected to the rule of law. We are fully cooperating with the Hawks and all other law enforcement agencies to strengthen the values of democracy in our Republic.
"As soon as all other forensic investigations are completed, we will accordingly inform the people of the province and South Africa at large."
North West Provincial government spokesperson Brian Setswambung earlier said the Hawks visited the office on possession of a search warrant for payments made to Nepo Data Dynamics.
"Last week, documents relating to this company were illegally accessed and distributed on social media. We welcome the search as it is consistent with our efforts to fight greed, crime and corruption as announced by Premier in his state of the province address. We will continue to cooperate with them," he said.
The company has a three-year contract to do IT and a marketing transformation programme for the provincial government.
The opposition Democratic Alliance said the raid was long overdue. "After years of stealing from the people of the province, and a litany of charges and investigations, the wheels of justice are finally turning. Mahumapelo must now face all the allegations against him and also account for his relationship with the Gupta family and involvement in state capture," said DA provincial leader Joe McGluwa.
"This could not have come at a better time, as the premier and his cabal attempt to muddy the waters by ordering forensic audits and calling people before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) in an attempt to get the spotlight off himself and his role in the collapse of the North West."
He said the investigations must not be limited to Mahumapelo only, but the Hawks must swoop on all those who supported and protected him during his terms in office.
"The raids this morning are a step in the right direction. We will not rest until corrupt politicians and officials swap their luxury suits for prison overalls..."
African News Agency/ANA