North West Premier, Professor Job Mokgoro, says his administration will establish a provincial forensic investigation unit to probe allegations of fraud, corruption, and maladministration within government departments and municipalities.

This will come into effect in April.

Mokgoro tabled his State of the Province Address (Sopa) in Mahikeng. Opposition parties, however, are not convinced that this will bare any fruit, saying Mokgoro’s 52-page speech was nothing but rhetoric.

The North West provincial government has been dogged by allegations of fraud and corruption for years. What makes it even worse is that these misdeeds were done by government officials and some political heads of departments and municipalities.

Mokgoro says they are determined to root out corruption in all spheres of government.

“Honourable Speaker, my office is inundated with allegations of fraud, corruption, maladministration relating to departments, entities, municipalities, and traditional council. We have, therefore, found it necessary that these matters must be investigated speedily, and where there is prima facie evidence such matters must be escalated to the law enforcement agencies. In this regard, effective from April 2021, we are establishing a provincial forensic investigation unit, to perform investigations on allegations of identified fraud, maladministration, and corruption in provincial departments, public entities, municipalities, and traditional authorities,” he says.

The Premier says most of the municipalities which were placed under administration are again running their own affairs, but will still be monitored.

“Honourable Speaker, we have had to be decisive and invoke the provisions of Section 139 (1)(b) of the constitution due to the untenable situation at the JB Marks, Madibeng, Ratlou, Tswaing, Lekwa-Teemane, and Mahikeng local municipalities for a period not exceeding 12 months. The intervention period has since ended and we continue to support these municipalities in terms of Section 154 of the constitution.”

Premier Mokgoro delivers the State of the Province Address:

‘Failed to hit the right notes’

Opposition parties say Mokgoro’s speech does not bring any hope for people of the North West.

Provincial Secretary of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Papiki Babuile, has called for accountability.

“We believe that the premier must take the people of this province into confidence about the corruption that takes place in this province and make sure that he holds accountable everybody who is involved in corruption, and there must be consequence management. He must make sure that those who are involved in this corruption, they are sent to jail,” Babuile says.

Though it welcomes the announcement of lifestyle audit for politicians, the Democratic Alliance says Mokgoro failed to commit on when this will be kick started.

“The only thing that we welcome out of these 50 pages that we got today, is that finally, lifestyle audits will be done. However, even with lifestyle audits they still do not have a start date. They are saying that they are looking for a reputable service provider. What is a reputable service provider? How do you not find a reputable service provider from 2019, up until now, you are still talking about that. If you can find a reputable service provider for a vaccine in a week or a day when you have your comrades somewhere, I don’t see how it can be difficult with this one,” says DA Chief Whip in the North West Legislature, Freddy Sonakile.

Mokgoro further said his administration will blacklist contractors that do shoddy work when awarded tenders by the government.