The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have welcomed the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) freezing of the former chief financial officer (CFO) of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s pension benefits.
This according to a statement released by the party on Friday afternoon.
EFF Statement On The SIU Efforts To Recover Stolen Money From Former CFO Of The Department Of Agriculture , Land Reform And Rural Development pic.twitter.com/XzqLX20SDt
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) January 15, 2021
Jacob Hlatshwayo was found to have been involved in alleged irregular personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts, the SIU said earlier this week.
He and other respondents have until 1 February to argue why the SIU’s order not to pay pension benefits should be made final.
The EFF said all governmental departments were written to and warned about corruption well before the country went into Covid-19 lockdown, but that “ministers failed to put measures in place to stop and prevent further looting of resources”.
“The money stolen meant for PPEs was meant to save lives and those that stole it are complicit in the loss of many lives of our people because of the lack of PPE,” the party said.
The party has now called on all departments to speed up disciplinary actions against corrupt officials, singling out the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure’s 14 officials involved in the Beitbridge border construction, and all those involved in PPE corruption.
They further requested that criminal cases and civil claims be made against officials found guilty, “to recoup the stolen money from their pension fund”.
They also warned the SIU “not to protect politicians in their investigations”, saying “we want to see the same energy, honesty and credibility in all their investigation for both officials and politicians”.
The EFF said that while Hlatshwayo’s pension suspension was in place, there must also be a criminal case laid against him, “to ensure that justice is done, and corruption has consequences”.
“For far too long, many officials participate in corrupt activities and don’t face the consequences. As a result, they get suspended from one department only to emerge in another part of the state.
“The sooner people are arrested and go to jail when found guilty, the sooner we will start dealing with crime as a country,” the EFF said.
Compiled by Nica Richards.