Government not blacklisting companies caught up in corruption

 ·27 Feb 2024

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has told parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) that despite some evident progress, government remains slow in implementing some of its recommendations pertaining to corruption.

This is particularly to do with barring implicated suppliers from receiving future public funds.

“The poor response to recommendations for restricting suppliers highlights the need for reforms,” said the SIU in an investigations progress report update.

This statement stems from its Covid-19 tender procurement investigations – which has seen 70 guilty convictions since June 2021.

The SIU had recommended that 91 directors and 297 companies should be restricted from doing any business with government due to their implications in various forms of corruption.

However, the SIU said that its most recent data indicates that none of the referred companies or individuals appear on the National Treasury’s Database of Restricted Suppliers.

The only entities that have taken heed of the recommendations to restrict various suppliers indicated in their investigations are Eskom and Transnet, said the SIU.

In hopes of changing the status quo, the SIU has backed the Public Procurement Bill that is in the pipeline, saying that it would “simplify the current system for restricting suppliers and will allow for clear lines of accountability for taking action.”

Other important SIU updates

Since 2011, the SIU has recovered R3.35 billion in stolen state funds. “This is cash in hand and excludes the value of contracts set aside,” it said.

In November 2019, President Ramaphosa established a Special Tribunal to fast track recoveries of public funds. “This intervention has significantly increased the ability of the state to recover misappropriated public funds,” said the SIU.

The largest portion of recoveries from SIU investigations are from Eskom and Transnet – recovering over R2.06 billion from those two state-owned.

Government departments and amount recovered (as of February 2024). Source: SIU Investigation Reports February 2024

There are currently 385 disciplinary recommendations that are being monitored by the Presidency – majority of which are from KwaZulu-Natal, followed by national departments, Mpumulanga, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

Source: SIU Investigation Reports February 2024

Since 2001, 245 Presidential Proclamations have been issued authorizing the SIU to conduct investigations into maladministration – 42% of which have been issued since 2018.

Majority of these have been proclamations to look into provincial governments and its entities (86).

Source: SIU Investigation Reports February 2024

Read: Ramaphosa has put Home Affairs and Prasa in the SIU crosshairs

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