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Gauteng takes tough stance on corruption!

Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the provincial government will take action against any officials implicated in corruption and maladministration.

Makhura was speaking during the State of the Province Address held at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s chambers in Johannesburg.

“Conducting forensic investigation for alleged cases of corruption is meaningless if action is not taken by departments to resolve these allegations. We are determined to take appropriate actions based on the outcomes of the investigations of corruption cases.

“Another vital consideration is that the resolution of cases brings credibility to the anti- corruption process,” he said.

Makhura said in order to strengthen government’s hand in the fight against corruption, Treasury has been approached to take stock of “its efficacy lest loopholes exist which may go undetected”.

“This is not so much because of any detected weaknesses in the internal systems of the Treasury, but because we believe to defeat crime we must stay ahead of the game. After the hard lessons of the COVID-19 PPE corruption practices, we have resolved to strengthen our prevention, detection, investigation and resolution of procedures to maintain clean governance.

“Following the PPE saga, we instituted fraud detection reviews on all contacts that are above R10 million, where we pick up irregularities, we will terminate such contracts with immediate effect,” he said.

The Premier revealed that several investigations are pending into different departments in the provincial government.

He said the Public Protector’s office has at least 45 open investigations at three departments.

“The cases investigated involve misconduct by officials relating to fraud, governance issues, unlawful demolition of RDP house, bribery, human resource irregularities, SCM irregularities, and maladministration,” he said.

Makhura added that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has also sent 14 referrals for the provincial government to take action against officials implicated in wrongdoing.

“Of these, seven complaints are from the Gauteng Provincial Government. Four matters are on flagship projects that were implemented by the GPG, and three additional complaints were submitted by whistle-blowers directly to the SIU,” he said.

The Premier said the provincial government’s fight against corruption and maladministration is driven by the “responsibility to the people of our province”.

“Citizens can only trust the call to fight corruption when they have evidence that some effort is made to not only investigate their complaints but to institute disciplinary action against the implicated officials.

“Consequence management is a key component of improving the culture of the organisation and ensuring that there are no cases of unethical behaviour,” he said.

Crime and safety

The Premier said the provincial government is adding more weight to its crime fighting initiatives on various fronts.

“Last year, we committed to employing 400 additional traffic police officers, over the next three years, to increase visibility and enhance road safety in the province. To date, a total of 264 officers have been appointed.

“We have procured and branded 45 high powered vehicles and 3 mobile police stations have been assembled and are currently being branded. In addition, we have trained 221 CPF members, patrollers included, and 10 of these patrollers have been deployed per ward level,” the Premier said.

Gender Based Violence

Makhura said gender based violence is also receiving singular attention with the establishment of brigades in wards all over the province.

“[We] have deployed GBV brigades in all wards and 30 dedicated GBVF social workers were appointed. The Department of Community Safety has also managed to rope in 610 safety volunteers participating as GBV Brigades.

“The brigades play a critical role in enhancing community awareness on the Green Doors, Ikhaya-le-Themba, and the victim’s empowerment centres (VECs) at police stations, shelters, to support survivors of GBV,” he said.

The Premier said the provincial government has heeded lessons from the COVID-19 induced hard lockdown and a war room on crime has been established.

“The war room on crime brings together all spheres of government, civil society, the private sector and critical stakeholders ensuring that we build a safer Gauteng.

“We have seen positive results from operation O kae Molao. Going forward the operations will be intensified and strengthened in collaboration with private law enforcement agencies through the Eyes and Ears Programme,” he said.