Gauteng spends R64 million on corruption investigations but Premier won’t release reports

The Gauteng Provincial Government has spent R63.8 million on 54 reports to investigate suspected corruption, but not a single one of these reports has been made public despite claims that the recommendations made have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

This is revealed by Premier David Makhura in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Makhura, the investigations were done by 23 forensic and audit companies over the last four years. These companies were chosen from a panel of 35 approved service providers after following an open tender process.

Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting was paid R9.1 million for four reports, broken down as follows:

• School Nutrition Programme – R4.6 million
• George Mukhari Hospital – R2.9 million
• Metrofile in the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) – R990 000
• Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs – R576 000

Other companies that have scored highly from expensive investigations include Bowmans Gilfillan, which was paid R7.4 million for three investigations, Deloitte was paid R6.1 million for three investigations, and Sekela Xabiso was paid R5.3 million for 5 investigations.

Notable investigations include the following:

• Security Tenders in the Health Department
• Foodbanks in the Department of Social Development (DSD)
• Dignity packs (DSD)
• Places of safety (DSD)
• Combi courts (Department of Sports)
• Microsoft (DHS)
• School uniform
• Nepotism (Office of the Premier)

The completed reports make a total of 1226 recommendations, of which 394 have been fully implemented, 312 are in progress and the remaining 520 are being dealt with in meetings between the Premier and each MEC and Head of Department on an ongoing basis.

Makhura says that 162 criminal cases have been referred to law enforcement agencies, 515 officials have been referred to disciplinary processes, and 128 civil claims have been instituted.

Furthermore, “steps are underway to ensure the recovery of R600 million lost from irregular conduct, unethical behaviour, corrupt practices or negligence.”

The burning issue is why none of these costly reports have been made public despite repeated promises that this will be done.

There needs to be far more transparency on this so that we can judge for ourselves whether appropriate action has been taken. Why are 520 recommendations still not acted on and why are no MECs held accountable for all this deplorable corruption?

I doubt whether much of the R600 million lost will be recovered as previous attests to recoup losses have failed dismally. More than R1 billion of irregular and wasteful expenditure has been written off already, including R723 million from the Department of Social Development, R124 million from Human Settlements and R83 million from Health.

Makhura’s big failure is that he has not prevented corruption in the first place. Money that is stolen or wasted is rarely recovered, which harms people in Gauteng who suffer from inferior services.

How can it be that people steal money from feeding schemes, dignity packs for schoolgirls, and places of safety?

The murder of health official Babita Deokaran shows how ineffectual Makhura has been in protecting whistleblowers and those who tried to spend money in the public interest.

The DA will continue to press the Premier to make all investigation reports public and ensure real accountability so that all rotten staff and politicians are removed and face justice in the courts.

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