The North West will establish a provincial forensic investigation unit to probe allegations of corruption in the province.
Premier Job Mokgoro announced this when he delivered his State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Thursday.
“Honourable Speaker, my office is inundated with allegations of fraud corruption [and] maladministration relating to departments, public entities, municipalities and traditional councils,” he said.
He said it was necessary that the matters were investigated speedily. Where prima facie evidence is found, the matters must be escalated to law enforcement agencies.
It is for this reason that the provincial forensic unit will be established on 1 April. It will conduct investigations into allegations of identified fraud, maladministration and corruption.
The forensic unit will be established within the provincial treasury and will report directly to the premier.
“I must emphasise, this is not a wish. It is in implementation,” said Mokgoro.
He recalled that in his SOPA last year, he said lifestyle audits would be conducted on the members of the province’s executive committee.
“We are happy to announce that we are at an advanced stage to secure the services of a reputable service provider for this specific assignment.”
The service provider should start at the beginning of April.
“Honourable Speaker, the state’s capability to deliver services is uneven and at times, uncoordinated. We have therefore resolved to address maladministration, poor governance and corruption across all three spheres, including public entities,” he said.
“We aim to achieve a capable honest government, improved leadership, a functional, efficient, integrated government and a professional, meritocratic public service.”
“Me-ri-to-cra-tic!” he emphasised.
Mokgoro also took a stand against service providers who built shoddy government housing.
He said several challenges continued to hamper the provision of housing.
“These relate to questionable quality and workpersonship of the houses constructed by government,” he said.
He added that 40% of beneficiaries reported weak walls and 30% reported weak roofs, requiring rectification and resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
“Honourable Speaker, the fact that our people are dependent on government for housing in no way should subject them to shoddy workpersonship or substandard houses,” he said.
He said they are taking a hard stance against these contractors and will ensure that they pay back the money or go back and rectify their mistakes.
“[The services of] contractors who fail to deliver, as agreed to in their contracts, will be terminated so that we can appoint contractors who will deliver the number of houses we are committing to.”
He added that contractors who provided shoddy work would be listed.