Storm brewing at South African Weather Service

The DA will today write to the Public Protector, Ms. Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to request that she launch an investigation into allegations of corruption at the South African Weather Service (SAWS).
The DA will also be submitting charges against the board of SAWS for breaching Sections 50 (1) (a), 50 (1) (b), 50 (1) (c), 50 (2) (a), 50 (2) (b) and 50 (3) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
This is in light of the suspended Chief Financial Officer of the SAWS, Ms. Marlize Hogendoorn, supported by an internal compliance report, raising a number of issues regarding irregularities at the state-owned entity.
A Presidential tipoff line received a call regarding allegations that the former Chief Executive of the SAWS, Dr Linda Makuleni, allegedly awarded herself and an executive with large bonuses whilst altering the bonuses down for other employees in 2015.
This claim was investigated by OMA Chartered Accountants and the findings were presented to the SAWS board in September 2016.
A compliance officer’s report was compiled, which found a number of issues regarding the bidding process, the signing of contracts and the authorisation level of the company secretary, which were all in breach of the PFMA.
It should be noted that at the time of the investigation, OMA had submitted a bid to be the audit firm for SAWS which would be a conflict of interest. A legal firm was then requested to look into the OMA Report, to review whether OMA should be paid for their services, however, the board’s selection of the legal firm was also in breach of the PFMA.
On the 22nd November 2016, the interim CEO, Ms Mmapula Kgari, overturned the executive committee’s decision to employ the legal services to investigate the OMA case, as she did not want to fight with Minister Edna Molewa. The CEO instead pushed for the OMA invoice to be paid.
When the CFO refused to authorise this irregular payment, she was suspended for ‘’poor performance”. This was following her bombshell notification of a potential case of fraud regarding a letter of guarantee for a radar project in the millions.
South African’s money cannot be wasted on supporting corrupt and fraudulent activities. The DA will continue to push for clean and competent governance within state-owned enterprises.

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