Premier Panyaza Lesufi gives a report on Anglo Ashanti, Tembisa Hospital, and Driving Licence Testing Centres
Statement by Premier Panyaza Lesufi on various investigative reports
In May 2022, we released the report on the State of Ethics, Integrity Management, and fighting corruption in Gauteng, the first of its kind to be released by a provincial government. The report was released in conjunction with the biennial report of the Gauteng Ethics Advisory Council (GEAC).
The Council, established in 2017, is a civil society-led body headed by Dr. Terence Nombembe to provide independent oversight, advice, advocacy, and civil society mobilisation on fighting corruption and promoting integrity in the Gauteng City Region.
The reports communicate measures we have taken as the Gauteng Government to institutionalize integrity and promote good governance, in collaboration with other institutions and agencies.
The reports also detailed matters referred to chapter nine institutions such as the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and the Public Protector.
Key recommendations that came from the Reports include:
- Accelerate the rollout of lifestyle audits to all public servants in the Gauteng Provincial Government;
- Assist in developing effective mechanisms to protect whistleblowers;
- Take appropriate action against Gauteng public servants who refuse to be vetted;
- Prioritise the full implementation of all the recommendations and corrective measures of the final forensic investigation reports; and
- Conduct vetting and lifestyle audits for all Supply Chain Management (SCM) officials.
Currently, the process of lifestyle audits for all senior officials is underway. We have also taken the decision that the three new Members of the Executive Council (MECs), namely, Mzi Khumalo, Kedibone DialeTlabela, and Matome Chiloane, will also be undergoing a similar vetting process that the rest of the executive has undergone. As soon as the process has been concluded, the outcomes will be made available to the public.
On 2 December 2022, the Gauteng Ethics Advisory Council (GEAC), convened a roundtable session to continue discussing how to give advice to the Executive Council on institutionalizing integrity across the Gauteng City Region.
The roundtable session saw high-powered participation from heads of institutions of the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), the Acting Public Protector, the head of Hawks, the head of the Public Service Commission (PSC), and the Chairperson of the Gauteng Audit committee.
The central message from the various heads of the institutions was that the approach taken by Gauteng to work collaboratively in tackling corruption was both commendable and welcomed. The roundtable widely felt that the Premier was setting a good tone from the top, a critical requirement predicting the building of a developmental and ethical state.
We have renewed the mandate of GEAC to continue providing independent oversight, advice, advocacy, and civil society mobilisation on fighting corruption and promoting integrity in the Gauteng City Region. We have also requested them to work with us in mitigating the potential risk of fraud and corruption, especially on our elevated priorities.
Today we wish to provide an update on some of the forensic investigation reports, which include, Tembisa Hospital, Anglo – Ashanti Hospital as well as the Drivers Licensing Testing Centres (DLTCs). This is in line with our commitment to promote integrity and deal decisively with the allegations of corruption and maladministration.
Public Protector Report
There have been 38 cases referred to the Public Protector, 35 are under investigation, and 3 have been finalised, majority of cases are in the Departments of Human Settlement and Health and Wellness. The nature of cases is as follows:
- Ten (10) cases of maladministration
- Three (3) cases of irregular appointments
- Three (3) cases of SCM Irregularities
- Twenty (20) cases fall under others – which range from unlawful contract extension, undue delay, improper conduct, and irregular termination of the contract, among others.
Tembisa Hospital investigation
The Premier’s Office signed a Secondment Agreement with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the allegations of maladministration, fraud, and corruption related to the Supply Chain Management processes at Tembisa Hospital under the Gauteng
Department of Health and Wellness as reported by the late Babita Deokaran. We can now confirm that when this happened, there were denials that the late Babita Deokaran had compiled a forensic report with the names of companies implicated. We were told that senior finance officials denied that the report existed. The investigation by the SIU confirms the existence of the report. The allegations in the report included:
- Possible fraudulent service providers doing business with the Gauteng Department of Health (Tembisa Hospital);
- Possible fraudulent payment transactions made thereof;
- Irregular appointment of companies at Tembisa Hospital;
- All payments made to these companies by the Gauteng Department of Health from 1 February 2021 to date;
- Establish any relationship between the Tembisa Hospital CEO and the companies in question.
We must take this opportunity to state that, we are doing this to honour Babita’s legacy, we are doing this to fulfill our commitment that her death will not be in vain. She remains the symbol of whistleblowing and a symbol of fighting corruption. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those involved will suffer the consequences. Based on the report we have received on the cases that have been opened, the hawks have invaded Tembisa hospital today as part of the work we have requested them to do.
Based on that report, the following findings were made:
- The SIU was able to confirm the allegations of maladministration and possible fraud and corruption related to the Supply Chain Management process at Tembisa Hospital;
- The investigation confirmed that fraudulent suppliers and/or service providers are conducting business with the Gauteng Department of Health and Wellness at Tembisa Hospital, and those possible fraudulent payments were made as it relates to the
- fraudulent suppliers and/or service providers;
- The SIU found numerous irregularities in respect of the bid documents provided to Tembisa Hospital by the successful and unsuccessful bidders, which should have led to the disqualification of the bidders. The SIU confirms the irregular appointment of
- service providers which caused the Department of Health and Wellness to suffer irregular expenditure;
- SIU found that the CEO at Tembisa Hospital at the time of the irregular procurement was responsible for authorising purchase orders, and request forms which led to the irregular appointment of thirteen service providers. This finding is based on the 27 payment documents received and analysed by the SIU.
- Based on the findings of a possible syndicate activity; corruption; fraud and the irregular appointment of service providers which led to irregular expenditure at the Department of Health, the SIU has applied for the Presidential Proclamation, we have supported this initiative, once approved, the SIU will increase its scope to include the freezing of assets, amongst other things.
As we have indicated, there are close to 227 companies that belonged to 4 people. The SIU did a brilliant job of scoping, interviewing whistleblowers, and visiting the facilities. Some of the facilities that were visited turned out to be unused buildings.
AngloGold Ashanti Hospital investigation
The SIU has uncovered serious irregularities in the awarding of contractors for the refurbishment of the AngloGold Ashanti Hospital in the West Rand. The investigation revealed that the officials misled the Department of Health by indicating that only minor refurbishments needed to be implemented, whereas major refurbishments were affected. These led to an initial budget of about R50 million ultimately skyrocketing to about R588 million.
The report recommended that disciplinary and criminal actions should be considered against three (3) officials from the Gauteng Department of Health and three (3) from the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development. The disciplinary processes are underway. The SIU has also referred the report to the NPA. We, as the provincial government has taken a decision to cut our costs and let the investment go.
Kempton Park Hospital
The Executive Council has resolved that a replacement hospital be built in the Kempton area to reduce the load on Tembisa Hospital. This decision follows the revelation that the cost of refurbishing Kempton Park Hospital amounts to that of building a new hospital. More details on the plans will be communicated.
Driver’s License Testing Centres (DLTC)
The Department of Transport and Logistics commissioned a forensic investigation into allegations of fraud and maladministration in Driving
License Testing Centres (DLTCs). The findings are as follows:
- Fraudulent optometrist certificates
- Fee dumping (Fee dumping is the practice of applicants with arrears who apply for vehicle license renewal being allowed to proceed and what they owe in arrears is dumped into other accounts, including the accounts of deceased persons).
- Collusion between examiners, applicants, and driving schools
- Lifestyle audits – assets not commensurate with salaries
- Expired service level agreements (SLAs) between the Gauteng
Department Transport and Logistics and several municipalities
We want to put stricter measures as part of our quest to overhaul the whole licensing regime. We are fighting crime as part of our priority in the province. We have identified motor vehicles as being key in fighting crime through hijackings or robberies being conducted using stolen motor vehicles. This report is assisting us with our commitment to fighting crime and overhauling the entire licensing system.
There are other reports that are being finalised by the SIU which will be shared with the public in due course.
As we conclude the release of this report, this serves as an affirmation that the 6th administration of the Gauteng Provincial Government will not tolerate any form of corruption and unethical conduct.
We are committing ourselves to overhauling our Supply Chain Management (SCM) systems. We have appointed the Finance MEC Jacob Mamabolo and the Head of Department (HoD) to take stock of all SCM officials to enable the detection of any wrongdoing before it occurs.