The Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation has implored the Department of Water and Sanitation and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to urgently implement referrals by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) on completed investigations.

Today, the Committee received a presentation from the SIU on past, current and future proclamations on the Department of Water and Sanitation. The Committee is of the view that for government to succeed in the fight against corruption, efforts must be made to urgently implement referrals from the SIU.

While the Committee acknowledges the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the SIU and the NPA aimed at ensuring progress in relation to prosecution of people identified by the SIU for possible irregularities, the Committee is disheartened by the lack of information and progress in relation to Proclamation R54 of 2012. For example, the criminal referral and prosecution of fraud and contravention of section 17(1) of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act referred to the NPA on 04 December 2013 should have been at an advanced stage by now, said Mr Mlungisi Johnson, the Chairperson of the Committee.

The Committee will urgently engage the NPA to ascertain progress in relation to prosecution. Similarly, the Committee will engage the Asset Forfeiture Unit to get an update on the process to recover monies owed to the state. These processes must be fast-tracked to ensure that the money is recovered and is channelled to service delivery, Mr Johnson emphasised.

The Committee has also called for the conclusion of internal disciplinary cases against officials within the department. Furthermore, the Committee reiterates its call for another look at labour laws in relation to employees resigning to avoid disciplinary processes.

It is unacceptable that employees within the department continue to plunder state resources without adequate consequences while service delivery suffers. This is concerning in the context of the declining budget allocation, unreasonably high accruals and declining attainment of targets that impact on effective service delivery, Mr Johnson said.

A detailed report will be requested from the department in relation to the disciplinary cases in relation to Proclamation 54 of 2012.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa