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Water affairs deputy DG sacked over SAP contract

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 27 Jan 2023

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) fired a senior official late last year, after an internal investigation of a SAP contract.

This, as the DWS vows to crack down on pervasive corruption in the department, revealing 63 disciplinary cases were finalised as of December 2022.

Yesterday, the department warned that as 2023 sets in, it will continue with its efforts to root out fraud and corruption.

On the SAP contract, which had been probed since 2018, the DWS said “a deputy director-general was dismissed late last year after being found guilty in an investigation relating to irregularities on the SAP contract with the department”.

It did not reveal the name of the official in question.

The SAP contract scandal flared up in 2018 after allegations emerged that public money had been siphoned.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) unearthed anomalies and the contract was invalidated. The transaction failed to comply with the provisions of Section 217 of the Constitution, PFMA, Treasury Regulations and the department's supply chain management policies.

Last year, the Special Tribunal SA – mandated to recover public funds syphoned from the fiscus through corruption, fraud and illicit money flows – announced a deal had been sealed with SAP, closing the matter.

A full and final settlement on the invalidated contract was reached after the software company agreed to cough up R345 million.

SAP welcomed the settlement and went on to commit to higher levels of compliance on its projects.

In a statement yesterday, the department noted it is tightening the screws on officials’ misconduct.

The department said through enhanced and collaborative measures implemented within the department and alongside law enforcement agencies, 55 of the 63 disciplinary cases had been finalised as of December.

“Of the 55 cases, 39 officials were found guilty through disciplinary processes and the sanctions implemented included suspension without pay, final written warnings and dismals, among others.”

To ensure investigations are carried out and concluded successfully, the DWS said it has introduced a standard template of all misconduct cases, where the monitoring and coordination of misconduct cases are now centralised.

“This means all cases that have been investigated are placed on a central database. These include that of the department’s internal audit unit, risk management register, human resources database, public service commission and the Special Investigating Unit’s databases.

“This is done to ensure all cases that require attention are monitored centrally, and the department has an accurate picture of the status of the cases. In an event where there are blockages or challenges, these can be attended to through the Consequence Management Committee.”