Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into allegations of corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the province has identified two officials in the Gauteng department of health who allegedly enabled and facilitated large-scale corruption.
Makhura said one of the officials has resigned from the department and that the other one who is still within “the system” was on Friday morning suspended by the head of the department, Professor Mkhululi Lukhele.
Makhura said one those identified by the SIU is the department’s former CFO Kabelo Lehloenya who resigned recently and the other official who was suspended on Friday is the Chief Director responsible for supply chain management within the department.
He reiterated the commitment he made last week that regular updates on the SIU investigation, which got under way at the end of May, would be made public whenever the provincial government has been updated by the unit.
He said whenever the SIU identifies areas of risk during their probe and when sufficient evidence is available, immediate action will be taken and criminal cases will immediately be opened and that action will be taken without waiting for the entire investigation to be concluded.
Furthermore, as the SIU’s investigation goes on, the unit will refer matters to the relevant law enforcement authorities, the premier said.
“We are not going to wait until the entire investigation is done,” Makhura said.
The premier said the SIU updated the provincial government on Thursday, where the two officials were identified.
The SIU and the provincial government will take legal steps and open a criminal case against the official who has resigned from the department of health, Makhura said.
He said these were “preliminary” steps with dealing with corruption and that the provincial government is committed to not losing any more money and not allowing for more corruption to take place.
The SIU will also “follow up” on companies implicated in corruption, Makhura said, adding that where there was sufficient evidence, criminal cases would be pursued.
The eGovernment contract had been cancelled and internal disciplinary processes against implicated officials in the department were under way, following irregular procurement within the department, Makhura said.
Makhura said at the advent of Covid-19 “hyenas” were at the ready to “attack” and the open tender system, which was meant to reduce corruption and irregular procurement and fruitless and wasteful expenditure, was flouted.
The premier announced that the State Security Agency would from next week start lifestyle audits on him and all the province’s 10 MECs, which is in line with the resolution he announced during his state of the province address last year.
The audits are expected to be concluded within six to eight weeks, the premier said.