The fact-finding mission into corrupt officials within the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has been handed over to the Provincial Forensic Audit Service.
This comes after the provincial portfolio committee on Cogta and human settlements requested the department to look into corruption allegations linked with the allocation of government houses in Clayville Extension 45 and Extension 71 in Tembisa.
Cogta has since decided that for credible outcomes, the case will not be investigated by the department’s Anti-Fraud and Corruption Unit but instead by the premier’s office.
On Monday, Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile said the corruption, which involved wrongly allocating houses to people and sidelining those who had applied for them, began as early as the 1990s.
The committee’s chairperson, Kedibone Diale, said the presentation they got from the department indicates some of the houses were occupied prematurely.
“When government houses are complete, they should be handed over from the department and then the department will allocate the houses to the right people.
“However, we have now found that this wasn’t the case with some of the houses, which is why we have people who are occupying those houses illegally,” she said.
Diale conceded that the illegal occupants were assisted by “greedy” government insiders who have been selling the houses for years.
Diale admitted that removing the corrupt individuals from their duties would not be an easy task.
“Our constitutional democracy proves that we are all innocent until proven guilty and we all have rights and that’s the challenge we are facing.”
Asked if the implicated individuals will be suspended from work during investigations, Diale said: “As a committee, we expect the department to provide a report on the officials implicated and their status pending the investigations.”
According to Diale, the committee has found that over 100 units of houses have been illegally occupied.
The officials who initiated the selling of the houses are believed to have pocketed R60 000 for each house.
Diale sent a stern warning to the officials and assured the public that the portfolio committee would not rest until the officials are brought to the book.
“It’s unfortunate that because these officials are abusing power and enriching themselves at the expense of deserving citizens.”
Diale refused to give any information pertaining to the officials, but indicated that some of them do not hold high-ranking positions within the department.
“Our MEC’s and other high-ranking officials within these departments are called for lifestyle audits, but you’d be surprised to see how lavish basic employees live and the cars they drive.”
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