KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has said the release of Covid-19 related expenditure on Thursday is meant to ensure that the provincial government is transparent and accountable to its citizens.
Zikalala further said in the interest of transparency and accountability, the provincial executive council (PEC) has taken the decision that he, his cabinet, heads of departments and officials in respective supply chain management units in the provincial government will undergo lifestyle audits.
The premier said the PEC took this decision because it was of the view that public servants should not only be beyond reproach but also competent, exhibit good, ethical and moral standing.
The dates as to when the audits would get underway, and other details, would be announced in due course, Zikalala said.
He said the provincial government remains committed to clean governance, and to being transparent and accountable and that it was working hard to earn the trust of the people it serves by spending in a prudent and accountable manner.
Precautionary measures were put in place to prevent the abuse of the financial resources dispersed for Covid-19 related emergency procurement, the premier said.
These included that municipalities, public entities and provincial government departments report regularly on procurement, he said, adding that the provincial government were quick to act where wrongdoing was detected.
The provincial government’s swift response to reports of wrongdoing can be seen in that two reports have been completed thus far, which resulted in the suspension of officials from the provincial department of social development and in that the matter was referred for criminal investigation, the premier said.
Zikalala said despite having delivered by serving the people, the provincial government continued, however, to observe sustained efforts to portray the government as being corrupt and irresponsible, a narrative he said was meant to divert people from the fundamental question of radical economic transformation.
He said the provincial government would show no mercy on corruption.
The premier said as of 27 July, the provincial government, including all its departments, had spent R1,999,465,704.
Of this, R1.3 billion was spent on infrastructure projects, including upgrades and alterations to healthcare facilities, schools and the establishment of quarantine facilities, among others, projects many of which will continue to benefit communities “long after” the Covid-19 pandemic, Zikalala said.
He reiterated that the provincial government would act swiftly, without fear or favour, against acts of wrongdoing, with consequence management being implemented internally and where justifiable, criminal steps may be pursued.
The provincial department of health had spent just over R1.4 billion, the premier said.
Zikalala said the provincial government would not be deterred from implementing radical economic transformation, a policy of the governing ANC, which is meant to benefit the previously disadvantaged of this country and that this would be done in accordance with correct procedures.