The Eastern Cape government is facing a plagiarism scandal after it was found some content from an ICT strategy was copied and pasted from another document.
And now disciplinary action looms for all those who were involved in the lifting of the content in the document.
As a result, the approval of the strategy by the executive council had since been withdrawn after confirmation that parts of it were plagiarised, the province said in a statement.
The Daily Dispatch reported on Saturday that the 33-page “Provincial Digital Transformation Framework and Strategy Plan 2020-2025” was almost a copy and paste of that which was signed by the former leader of Australia’s Labor Party, Brendan Howlin, five years ago.
The newspaper also reported the document had been signed by provincial cabinet director-general Mbulelo Sogoni and Premier Oscar Mabuyane.
According to the provincial government, the only part that was not plagiarised was the implementation plan, projects to be implemented and location of the projects that were meant to be implemented as part of the strategy.
It said when the information about the plagiarised document came to Mabuyane’s attention, he ordered an investigation to look into the matter.
“When plagiarism was confirmed by the investigation, at the instruction of Premier Mabuyane, the strategy document was withdrawn from all government institutions where it was submitted as required by the operational and reporting systems of government,” the province said in the statement dated 9 October.
A decision to withdraw the ICT strategy from the records of the executive council, its committees, forums, structures and other government institutions was taken during an executive council meeting.
The council directed that a new provincial government ICT strategy be developed with proper guidance and attention to processes as well as the content of the document and teams who worked on the strategy to avoid a repeat of this embarrassing situation, the province said.
“Disciplinary action will be taken against individuals who plagiarised this document because plagiarism is an act of misconduct, dishonesty and in this case, it has brought the provincial government into disrepute.”
And now systems were being explored by Mabuyane’s office to ensure plagiarised documents were easily picked up, the provincial government said.