Authorities in the North West have started implementing the recommendations of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), following investigations conducted in the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by two municipalities. The SIU released its progress report on PPE corruption last week.
The findings revealed that a contractor was paid R1.2 million without any due diligence, while others inflated prices on PPE in the JB Marks Municipality.
In Ratlou, service providers also inflated prices on procured goods. In both instances, the SIU recommended that action be taken against the accounting officers. Thupi Mokhatla, the administrator at the JB Marks Municipality, says they have already started implementing the recommendations.
“Both the municipal manager and the Chief Financial Officer have been served with the letters of notice to suspend and in terms of the regulations they have been given seven days to respond as to why they must not be suspended.”
SIU releases report on outcomes of COVI-19 PPE procurement investigations:
In the Ratlou Municipality, similar action has been undertaken.
“The recommendations of the SIU was that disciplinary processes be initiated against the municipal manager and those officials., and I just simply complied. I did that I have since served the municipal manager with a letter of my intention to suspend him. I gave him seven days to respond. Well in terms of process the municipal manager has to satisfy me as the administrator as to reasons why I should not suspend him. I will reconsider that when I got his letter,” says administrator, Neo Motsitsi-Kalil.
Lebo Ralekgetho, the municipal manager at JB Marks, has already received a suspension letter. He is, however, not satisfied with the way the process is unfolding.
“It would have been better if I have been given any form that says this is your charge sheet. This is what we are charging you with, this is what we are putting you under disciplinary process for. Then I could be able to respond to any allegations. But to still come with wild open-ended allegations and say that you are still going to investigate, truly is embarrassing. It is embarrassing to the institution and all the institutions that we are still going to investigate, that for me that is not been fair,” Ralekgetho says.
The MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mmoloki Cwaile, says investigations have already been concluded and the government is now acting against those implicated.
“We are only complying with the principle of the law of natural justice, that their versions must be heard before we act. Then we will decide whether we subject them to disciplinary whilst they are at work or they will need to be on the street.”
The municipal manager of the Ratlou Municipality was reluctant to comment, saying the matter is still sub judice.