The flagging of Pauline Ngakane’s alleged gross misconduct is being scrutinised by the CSSP and could be up for a hearing later this month.
In what is expected to bring into sharp focus the level of efficacy of the City of Ekurhuleni’s fraud and anticorruption systems, a department of health and social development senior staffer has been reported to the Council for Social Service Professions (CSSP) for unethical and corrupt behaviour involving millions in alleged fraudulent tenders.
In papers lodged by whistleblower Ndzipo Kalipa to the CSSP and seen by The Citizen, Pauline Ngakane – a professional social worker said to be politically connected to Ekurhuleni bigwigs – has been reported for being “connected to corrupt service providers”.
The flagging of Ngakane’s alleged gross misconduct in handling council tenders is being scrutinised by the CSSP and could be up for a hearing later this month.
In the six-page CSSP complaint document, Kalipa has described Ngakane, who is based at the Ekurhuleni metro’s sixth-floor Alberton civic centre offices, as having shown “a conflict of interest” and for having acted “unprofessionally”.
In terms of behaviour and conduct detrimental to the social work profession, Kalipa reported Ngakane as having displayed “unethical conduct, acted with conflict of interest and shown an unprofessional behaviour by colluding with clients”.
Kalipa alleged: “She has acted against the employer’s policies by helping and assisting in corrupt activities. She has also abused her position by giving favours to those she has intimacy with.
“Towards colleagues and other professional persons, she has acted illegally by putting myself and her personal assistant under surveillance – using the council’s rogue security personnel. She has colluded with corrupt service providers in giving adjudication scores, involved in price-fixing prior to the finalisation of the procurement processes and deviated from the procurement policy framework.
“On tender advertising contrary to the required guidelines of code of ethics, she has been involved in cybercrime by advertising tenders to preferential clients – an unethical practice.”
Among awarded multimillion-rand tenders Kalipa has identified as questionable was the appointment of “accredited training service providers” to train early childhood development practitioners from 1 July 2017 until 30 June 2019”.
Maintaining that the service provider who won the bid for the training of early childhood development practitioners provided “unaccredited training”, Kalipa said: “This was a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
To the ANC, which is governing the city in coalition with the African Independent Congress, the early childhood tender also became a source of concern.
A letter written by ANC ward 57 branch chair Wiseman Solwandle to Ngakane on 14 June 2018, warned on the tender: “We are extremely astonished and disappointed with regard to policy violations by health and social development on flouting the procurement policy framework.
“With reference to the public notice issued by the department, you quoted a set of requirements, some of which are not in line with the procurement policy framework such as the ECD [early childhood development] forum.
“Could you please elaborate on who constitutes the ECD forum and what its status mandate is as a stakeholder? We want to appeal to your office and the department that it must be consistent with the Batho Pele principle [people first, in seSotho] in conducting its affairs.
“We, therefore, demand that this process be halted and reopened. We hope that future endeavours with your department on such sensitive community participation matters shall be guided by our inputs and openness.”
Batho Pele is a government policy, compelling government departments to consult citizens about the level and quality of the public services they receive.
In championing a campaign against corruption, the City of Ekurhuleni has posted on the council website: “City of Ekurhuleni has an independent anti-fraud hotline for employees, members of public and external stakeholders to report allegations of fraud and corruption.
“Members of the public, employees and stakeholders are encouraged to report suspicions of fraud, corruption and maladministration to help the municipality to fight fraud and corruption.
“Employees who have knowledge or suspicion of prohibited conduct as defined in this policy have a duty to report in terms of this section of the policy. We will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any alleged violation and take appropriate corrective action.”
Asked for comment, Ngakane said she was “not aware of any complaints lodged by anyone”.
She later called The Citizen, saying: “I am not authorised to speak on these matters.”
For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.