Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Public Protector finds DWS irregularly procured IT contracts on behalf of SA water boards

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 15, 2020

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Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has concluded a string of investigations with her office, finding that the Department of Water and Sanitation had irregularly procured an IT contract on behalf of the country’s water boards. 

Mkhwebane looked into the department of water’s procurement of System Application and Product licenses on behalf of water boards. The complaint was submitted by former EFF general secretary Godrich Gardee. The complaint information had alleged that the department of water had no need to procure additional SAP licenses as their own licenses could have accommodated additional users including water boards. 

Mkhwebane said her investigations revealed that the allegations were substantiated.  

"I investigated allegations of corruption, procurement irregularities and maladministration within the erstwhile Department of Water and Sanitation. The investigation followed a February 2017 complaint by Mr Godrich Gardee, then Member of Parliament and General Secretary of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).  

“I focused my investigation on whether the department irregularly procured the SAP licenses for itself and on behalf of the Water Boards and, if so, whether such conduct led to the department incurring irregular and/or fruitless and wasteful expenditure, maladministration and improper conduct. I found that the allegation that the department irregularly procured the SAP licenses for itself and on behalf of the Water Boards is substantiated. I also found that the conduct of officials, Mr Mkhize and Ms Mathe, amounts to maladministration and improper conduct while the expenditure incurred as a result of the irregular extension was irregular, fruitless and wasteful,” Mkhwebane said. 

The Public Protector said the director-general should take actions against officials involved In the matter. 

“As part of remedial action, I direct the director-general (DG) to take note of my findings and ensure that any future information and communication technology procurement is aligned with the requirements of the Constitution, the State Information Technology Act, the relevant Treasury regulations and departmental policies,” Mkhwebane said. 

Mkhwebane also announced that her office was dropping several investigations. 

The office has cleared Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo for allegations that she received sponsorships from contractors for her 2016 birthday celebrations. 

“I concluded that the MEC did not receive any benefit, gift or sponsorship as contemplated in the Executive Ethics Code for or in respect of the function that was held at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Cape Town on 10 September 2016,” Mkhwebane said. 

Mkhwebane has also dropped the investigation into the services agreement between Eskom and McKinsey Company Incorporated. She said the matter had also been dealt with in court and was being investigated by the State Capture Inquiry The court found that the contract between the two was unlawful. 

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