Cape Town - The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has called on the Office of the Presidency to provide regular updates on Special Investigation Unit reports.
In addition, the committee summoned the department to submit an update within 14 days and a full progress report of the implementation of the SIU recommendations by the end of this month.
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele’s office on Tuesday briefed the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on the final SIU report in respect of the National State of Disaster under Proclamation R23 of 2020 and progress on the disciplinary matter against the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure director-general Advocate Sam Vukela.
The Presidency has since 2019 processed 81 final Special Investigations Unit reports.
Among these include the latest report into the Covid-19 related procurement investigation by government departments which entailed the probing of 5 467 contracts awarded to 3 066 service providers with a total value of R14.3 billion.
This briefing also comes after committee chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa in December demanded the department to act decisively on SIU reports.
Deputy-director general in the Presidency’s corporate services unit, Matsietsi Mekoa, on Tuesday commended the work of the SIU into the corruption linked to Covid-19 related procurement by government departments.
“This report became very important in the manner in which it delved into the details of looking at the corruption,” Mekoa said.
In December, the findings were presented to Scopa after which recommendations were made requiring Ramaphosa to take action against the former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize - who resigned from the portfolio in August last year - and the DG of Health, Dr Sandile Buthelezi whose suspension was uplifted following the conclusion of his disciplinary inquiry.
The Presidency received the final report on 10 December and it was released on January 25.
Touching on the disciplinary matter against Vukela, Mekoa said the matter was before the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council (GPSSBC) as the suspended DG was challenging his 2020 suspension.
This comes after he was implicated in extensive overspending on state funerals and an irregular hiring spree, among others.
Last year, Minister Patricia de Lille issued a directive for Vukela to be added to the list of officials to be charged in connection with the controversial Beitbridge border post fence.
“In August 2021 Adv. Vukela made a written representation to the Minister in the Presidency asking for his suspension to be lifted. Having considered the seriousness of the charges against Adv. Vukela, the Minister decided that the suspension must continue until the finalisation of the disciplinary processes,” Mekoa said.
This prompted Vukela to file a dispute in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) with the GPSSBC challenging his suspension. The GPSSBC hearings took place on December 13 and 14 and will continue this month.
After the briefing by the Presidency, Hlengwa raised concerns with the R3.3 million salary that the suspended Vukela has been receiving despite his suspension.
“There seems to be an emerging pattern of abuse of the judicial processes in an attempt to circumvent consequence management. The committee hopes that this matter will be finalised speedily," he said.
Gungubele on the other hand said transparency in the release of SIU reports was very critical as it sends a message to those who are corrupt.