Western Cape Education Minister Debbie Schäfer has refuted claims that the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) found evidence of corruption and collusion in her department. She says the finding is limited to the process followed in the procurement of cloth masks.
Schäfer says a similar finding was made previously by the Auditor-General, which the department disputed.
The SIU’s report recommends disciplinary action against some senior officials for allegedly awarding 99 % of the Personal Protective Equipment tender to a single company.
Schäfer says she has referred the matter to the Department of the Premier’s People Management Unit for advice.
“I have noted the claims by various politicians regarding the finding against the Western Cape Education Department by the Special Investigation Unit. A similar finding was made previously by the Auditor-General, which we disputed, as it did not take account the timing of National Treasury instructions issued, which we followed. It is telling that the SIU found no irregularities with respect to procurement of hand sanitisers from the same company.”
The SIU has been investigating procurement of goods and services associated with the COVID-19 pandemic:
Earlier his week, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the public release of the final report of investigations by the SIU into procurement by all spheres of government of goods and services associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July 2020, President Ramaphosa authorised the SIU to probe allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 funds. The SIU investigated more than 5 400 contracts awarded to over 3 000 service providers with a total value of R14.3 billion.
At this stage, investigations have been finalised with respect to 4 549 contracts, of which 2 803 contracts were found to be irregular. This amounts to 62% of the finalised investigations.
The rand value of actual cash and assets to be recovered on the basis of the investigation is R551 million.