Photo: GCIS

THE Standing Committee on Public Accounts said on Tuesday that it was not satisfied with the slow progress of investigations into corruption at the Department of Water and Sanitation, including its struggling water boards.

This comes few weeks after Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and the Department’s director-general, Mbulelo Tshangana, promised to take decisive action against officials responsible for corruption in the water department’s ranks. 

Sisulu confirmed earlier in May that 161 cases of corruption are being investigated at the department and that there had been irregular expenditure of R16.6 billion for the 2018/2019 financial year.

SCOPA chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement that the parliamentary committee has requested the department to furnish it with a detailed report which includes the full names of all implicated officials.

Hlengwa said the committee also planned on interacting with the Public Service Commission with regard to the movements of officials who either faced disciplinary action, resigned or are dismissed as a result of misconduct, fraud or corruption within the state.

“This is to eliminate the possibility of hiring such officials in other departments or entities within the public sector,” he said.

Hlengwa added that SCOPA intended to approach the Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu to request him to conduct a special audit since there is evidence that the Water Boards’ financial affairs are not being run in accordance with proper accounting practices.
 
SCOPA has also scheduled another meeting Sisulu to receive financial statements and annual report from the department.

“The committee will schedule hearings separately with the various Water Boards, particularly the ones which have been flagged due to high amounts of irregularity, wasteful and fruitless expenditure such as Amatola Water Board and Sedibeng Water Board among others. This is to allow enough time for the committee to engage on the issues from the Water Boards,” said Hlengwa.
 
“Due to time constraints, the committee could not engage sufficiently with the department on this matter today. Therefore, it will forward questions stemming from the information presented today to the department. The committee has requested the department to respond to the questions by next week.”

(Compiled by Inside Politics staff)

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