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 is revealed by Lesufi’s written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
I asked him why one investigation into alleged fraud started in July 2014 and was only finalised in November 2022 – more than 8 years later!
This case was quite simple – a Gauteng Health Department official was registered as a director of a day care NGO that got R2.4 million from the Gauteng Department of Social Development. But according to the department:
“The project took long 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 ﬁnalizing other projects that were assigned to them resulting in further delays. This project was then allocated to then newly recruited Director who also resigned while the investigation was under execution phase.“
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 blames “capacity constraints”, and says “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 initiated in November 2017 and completed in November 2022, but the disciplinary process against the official is still not 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.
Meanwhile, many officials are suspended for years on full pay as a result of these slow investigations.
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.
The DA proposes a highly proficient internal investigation unit that can do speedy probes to root out corruption in the provincial government.