Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Kevin Mileham MP.
With Cabinet scheduled to deliberate and take a decision on the proposed declaration of a State of Disaster (SoD) on the load shedding crisis, the DA is taking practical steps to ensure that such a declaration has in-built safeguards to prevent executive overreach and stop corruption.
To prevent the feeding frenzy that characterized PPE procurement by ANC cadres and their families during the Covid-19 SoD, the DA will fight to ensure that any SoD on the load shedding crisis is actively monitored through a:
- Special Inspector-General to prevent the looting of any emergency funding that may be set aside to address the crisis;
- Live and public National Treasury record that will track all tenders, procurement contracts and successful bidders;
- Parliamentary ad-hoc committee to oversee the implementation of the SoD.
Following the official announcement of the SoD, as provided for in the Disaster Management Act, the DA will table a proposal to the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, calling for the creation of a Special Inspector-General to prevent corruption relating to any funding directed towards addressing the electricity crisis.
This Inspector-General will have broad, sweeping powers to investigate and take pre-emptive, real-time action to prevent corruption at every level of government where taxpayer money is directed towards the crisis. The DA will specifically propose that the Special Inspector-General have the following powers:
- Summoning information or assistance from any government department, agency, or other entity at National, Provincial or Local government level directly involved in the implementation of the SoD. Failure to disclose information within seven days will be regarded as a criminal offence;
- Direct SoD implementing departments to take immediate action to address deficiencies identified by a report or investigation of the Special Inspector General;
- Prevent the payment of any monies to, or recall moneys from any individual or entity where the Special Inspector-General finds deficiencies, non-adherence to processes, or potential abuse of power or corruption;
- Nullify the awarding of tenders and contracts where the Special Inspector-General finds deficiencies, non-adherence to processes, or potential abuse of power or corruption;
- Require an explanation of the reasons the State determined it to be appropriate to procure any goods or services, including a justification of the price paid for, and other financial terms associated with, the applicable transaction; and
- Preventing and/or terminating procurement where exorbitant pricing is detected.
The Inspector-General would differ from the Auditor-General (AG) in that the AG only considers spending after it has happened at the end of a financial year, and cannot take any preemptive action to prevent corruption.
Similarly, as soon the as the SoD is announced, the DA will immediately ask Parliament to establish an ad-hoc committee that will act as an oversight mechanism to prevent executive overreach, stop corruption and enforce transparency and accountability during implementation.
The DA’s three point plan to place deterrents against corruption in an SoD on the load shedding crisis is to ensure that every single cent meant for addressing the electricity crisis is directed towards its intended purpose and not corrupt politicians and their friends.