The first phase of investigations into allegations of maladministration at the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has been concluded.
Following through on a Budget Vote commitment in July last year, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu appointed a team of eminent persons, assisted by National Treasury-approved investigators, to probe the maladministration allegations.
“We faced huge financial mismanagement in the water sector, with the result that many of our top officials at national and municipal levels are under investigation. All current investigations will be fast-tracked and ensure there will be follow-through consequences. If needed we will also call in forensic investigators to assist us,” Sisulu commented.
After receipt of the reports, she said that 48 cases of serious misconduct within the department were reported, of which, six were prioritised.
“In total, R16.5-billion in irregular expenditure was involved. The department lost R1.7-billion on fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” she said in a statement on May 7.
The DWS is also handling, internally, about 180 less serious cases, which are expected to be concluded within weeks.
However, owing to the Covid-19 lockdown, some of the cases have been delayed.
The DWS received the reports of the forensic investigations and is preparing to hand these over to law enforcement agencies.
“Apart from the outcomes of the forensic reports, other charges are also being formulated in terms of the Public Service Regulations in line with the forensic reports,” Sisulu said, adding that she will report on the cases to Scopa at the earliest opportunity.
“These are historic problems of the department spanning more than a decade. Every precaution has been taken to ensure that the investigations are thorough, to provide justice for the accused, and to clean up the department,” she concluded.