EFF condemns public works’ misspent billions

FILE PICTURE: Julius Malema. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Waldo Swiegers)

Irregular expenditure in the department of public works amounting to R34.9 billion indicates a culture of kleptomania in government, the EFF said on Monday.

“This is clearly a long tradition, a way of life and a consistent history of the kleptomania of the ANC government,” Economic Freedom Fighters spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi claimed in a statement.

Earlier on Monday, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said that of the R34.9bn irregular expenditure, some dating back to 2001, R1.1bn was suspected to have been lost to fraud and corruption.

He said the extent of misspent funds was “in a word, shocking”.

Nxesi said the irregular transactions in the department did not necessarily mean fraud had been committed.

The irregular expenditure was caused by incomplete documentation, incorrect approval of transactions, non-competitive bidding processes, incorrect calculations, and emergency procurement for non-emergency situations.

Ndlozi said the EFF held a corruption-free government as one of its founding principles.

“This is because to steal from the poor is attempted murder and must be punishable by a harsh sentence of no less than 20 years in prison.”

On Tuesday, EFF leader Julius Malema, along with four others, will appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and racketeering. It was alleged that Malema made nearly R4 million from corrupt activities. He is out on R10,000 bail.

Ndlozi said the party would “make sure” President Jacob Zuma was held accountable for upgrades to his home in Nkandla, and that he paid back the money.

“Unless this is done, no one will ever respect the people’s money and treat it as sacrosanct.”

Nxesi said earlier that of 23 companies being investigated for procurement irregularities, 15 related to security upgrades at Nkandla.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela earlier this year found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the upgrades and recommended that Zuma repay that part of the money not spent on security.

On Friday, the EFF was among the opposition parties that withdrew from the parliamentary committee on Nkandla, saying they would not legitimise a process they claimed was designed to shield the president from liability for abuse of state funds.

Ndlozi said: “The EFF further calls on an investigation to be constituted to make sure that all who have been stealing all these years are also brought to book and a clean chapter of a corrupt-free government begins”.


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