Patricia de Lille and the Committee Chairperson on Public Works colluding to restrict access to the SACAP investigation report

The Parliament Committee Chairperson on Public Works and Infrastructure, Nolitha Ntobongwana, appears to be colluding with Minister Patricia de Lille to cover up and stop access to a report into serious allegations at the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP).

The DA will be writing to Parliament’s Chair of Chairs, Cedric Frolick, requesting that he intervenes and compels Ntobongwana to release the SACAP investigation report to Committee members.

Following allegations of governance challenges, lack of leadership, bullying, sexual harassment, and maladministration at SACAP, the DA had requested an investigation. However, the investigation’s findings were never made public or served before members of the parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure.

During a committee meeting on the 18th of May, three different officials separately confirmed to committee members that Ntobongwana has the SACAP investigation report.

Early last week, Ntobongwana made an undertaking to provide me with a copy of the report by Friday, the 28th of May 2022. Three days later, I still have not received the report.

The question is why has Ntobongwana not made available this report to committee members if there isn’t anything to hide? Her conduct is consistent with the same stalling tactics that have been used by Minister de Lille to restrict access to the report.

De Lille rejected the DA’s PAIA application to have access to the SACAP report citing inapplicable provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). When the DA lodged an appeal against her decision, de Lille chose to ignore it, violating statutory provisions of the PAIA Act.

The conduct of Ntobongwana and de Lille is deeply regrettable in that they are going to extremes to try and shield SACAP from accountability. Recently, we learned through media reports that the two whistleblowers who first raised alarm about the governance crisis at SACAP, leading to the said investigation, are now being victimised and threatened.

The continued failure to issue the investigation report is now an officially sanctioned sustained victimisation of these whistleblowers. As a constitutional body tasked with holding the Executive to account and representing the interests of all South Africans, Parliament should never be used to cover up the illegality being spearheaded by de Lille and Ntobongwana. The public has a right to know and the report must be issued without further delay.