The IFP in the KZN Legislature says compromised individuals must be removed from supply chain management (SCM).
The IFP’s concerns emanate from the fact that Mr Nqaba Ludidi, Director of SCM in the KZN Department of COGTA, is one of the 14 politicians and officials accused of fraud in the Buffalo City Metro. Mr Ludidi, along with his co-accused, are suspected of embezzling R10 million. The funds were meant for the memorial service and funeral of former President Nelson Mandela in 2013.
We have been reliably informed that it is business as usual for Mr Ludidi, who has allegedly not been suspended pending the outcome of investigations. Failure to act against people who are associated with corruption, such as Mr Ludidi, bring the integrity of SCM into question. This makes it difficult for anyone to believe that there is transparency, and that the awarding of tenders is corruption-free.
The IFP demands answers from the KZN MEC for COGTA, Sihle Zikalala, as to why this compromised individual has not been suspended. In addition, the KZN Office of the Premier has refused to implement lifestyle audits. The former KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, announced that lifestyle audits for the Premier, MECs, senior managers and supply chain officials would be conducted by the State Security Agency and SARS.
To date, this has not happened.
The KZN provincial government urgently requires the means to detect sudden changes in the lifestyle of public servants, particularly when their salaries do not appear to be able to support these changes. It is worrying to note that many people entrusted to manage public funds have ended up enriching themselves, at the expense of the public. When we see people suddenly become millionaires – or billionaires – and the wealth doesn’t match their known sources of income, either from business or employment, that could be an indicator of fraud and corruption.
SCM is an essential tool for managing public procurement. Through SCM processes, deficiencies in current practice, relating to procurement, contract management, inventory and asset control, and obsolescence planning are identified. Therefore, it is not the place for compromised people of questionable character.
The IFP believes that strong political will is required to drive anti-corruption activities in the supply chain and procurement. There should be a concerted effort to fight and combat corruption by ensuring that people with integrity are appointed in SCM. Further, the culture of impunity and patronage that often enables the deployment of unqualified people to sensitive offices should be abolished.
Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature
078 290 5842