Johannesburg – The anti-corruption unit in Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s office is beset by resignations and slow investigations, with many cases taking years to finalise.
This was confirmed by Lesufi’s written reply to questions from the DA’s Jack Bloom in the Gauteng legislature.
Bloom asked Lesufi why one investigation into alleged fraud started in July 2014 and was only finalised in November 2022, more than eight years later.
This case was quite simple: A Gauteng Health Department official was registered as a director of a daycare NGO that got R2.4 million from the Gauteng Department of Social Development.
In his reply, Lesufi said: “The project took a long time to be completed as it was initially not allocated timely due to capacity constraints. When the project was ultimately allocated to the investigation team, they resigned while the allegations were still being investigated.
“The project could not be reallocated on time as the other team members were also finalising other projects that were assigned to them, resulting in further delays. This project was then allocated to the then newly recruited director who also resigned while the investigation was under execution.”
After all this, it was found that the official did not know she was registered as a director of this NGO and did not benefit from the money.
In other cases that took more than four years to conclude, the department blamed “capacity constraints”, and said “the Provincial Forensic Audits has consistently been experiencing a high staff turnover rate due to continuous resignations of staff members”.
One investigation into alleged gross misconduct, theft and corruption was started in November 2017 and completed in November 2022, but the disciplinary process against the official has not been finalised.
In another case involving procurement irregularities, the investigation was started in May 2018 and completed in October last year, but management has not been able to implement the recommendations.
Many officials are suspended for years on full pay as a result of such delays.
“This chaotic investigation unit where staff come and go is shameful. It shows that fighting corruption is not a high priority for the ANC in Gauteng, which pursues cadre deployment and protecting its buddies in high positions.
“This is why provincial departments are often badly run and waste huge amounts of money instead of providing needed services,” Bloom said.
He said the DA proposed the establishment of a highly proficient internal investigation unit that could do speedy probes to root out corruption in the provincial government.