The president’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko, issued a statement confirming that Ramaphosa had authorised the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate suspected wrongdoing around the awarding of tenders by the department of water and sanitation.
Public servants as well as people in the private sector will be probed for their role in irregularly awarded contracts by the department in the Ekurhuleni and Ethekhwini municipalities.
According to the presidency, the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) is also implicated in the investigation.
This was the latest in a series of investigations that seek to make good on Ramaphosa’s declaration during his first state of the nation address address that “this is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.”
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In the same address, Ramaphosa made it clear that the commission of inquiry into state capture headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo was not meant to displace the regular work of the country’s law enforcement agencies in dealing with corruption.
The department of water and sanitation stands accused of illegally procuring information technology services from IT company SAP.
“The SIU will look into allegations that the procurement of, or contracting for, information technology-related services from SAP had not been fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective, and that legislation, guidelines or policies had been flouted,” the statement read.
Ramaphosa is attempting to show that his administration will not tolerate the level of corruption that allegedly took place under his predecessor.
In June, he called for billions of rands siphoned out of the country through corrupt activity to be recuperated.
At the ANC Gauteng provincial conference in Irene, Pretoria, the president said the party needed to demonstrate leadership to society by not tolerating and determinedly dealing with corruption, even within the organisation’s ranks.
“In fact, the nation now needs to move to another level of handling corruption. We must now embark on a massive project to get back the money that will have been stolen by those who were participating in corrupt activities,” Ramaphosa said.
He said billions of rands had been siphoned out of the country, which should be recovered so that it could fund the health and education sectors in particular.