Open-chequebook bribe unreported An alleged attempt to influence one of South Africa’s biggest state tenders with an “open chequebook” bribe was effectively swept under the carpet by the high-level committee deliberating on it in 2008, it was recently reported in Mail & Guardian. The bid-adjudication committee, chaired by top advocate Norman Arendse, failed to report the incident to the police, an oversight that could be deemed an offence under South Africa’s anti-corruption legislation. No further investigation was undertaken. The tender in question, worth R7-billion at the time, was for the payment of social grants throughout the country over five years. It was cancelled in November 2008, for reasons unrelated to the alleged bribe attempt, but a subsequent version, worth R10-billion, was awarded to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) this January. Read the full article here. DA calls for intensified war on graft A member of South Africa’s parliament has called on President Jacob Zuma to lead from the front in the fight against graft, after a report showed about R300-million was stolen from state coffers in the past financial year, the Voice of America reported on 4 March. The Democratic Alliance’s Jordan Lewis, who heads the opposition party’s trade and industry portfolio, said Zuma’s vow to weed out what he calls “the menace of corruption” has been ineffective. “South Africans will be deeply disappointed and shocked to hear that an enormous sum amounting to hundreds of millions of rands have bolted from the state coffers,” said Lewis. “Once again, most of those people who are guilty and are responsible for that theft will go completely unaccountable and unpunished,” Lewis added. Read the full article here. Home Affairs steps up war on fraud, corruption The Department of Home Affairs has stepped up efforts to fight fraud and corruption among its employees with the installation of integrated electronic security systems in 47of its offices, allAfrica.com reported on 7 March. Home Affairs deputy minister Fatima Chohan said this was part of the department's commitment to push back the frontiers of fraud and corruption when she responded to questions in the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town on Tuesday. The recently installed system at the department's head office in Pretoria has the capacity to monitor the attendance as well as arrival and departure of officials. Apart from monitoring staff, the security system also detects illegal and corrupt activities. Read the full article here. Manase cover-up a betrayal The Democratic Alliance in eThekwini municipality has vowed to revoke its confidentiality agreement about council matters until the damning 700-page forensic report into the city’s finances is made public, it was reported in The Mercury 2 March. The party’s caucus leader, Tex Collins, said that mayor James Nxumalo had “betrayed the council and reneged on his promise to fight corruption” by failing to release the full report. This week, the council met behind closed doors to discuss recommendations and the course of action that would be taken against officials implicated in the recently released report by forensic auditors Manase and Associates. However, Collins said that Nxumalo had again presented councillors with a sanitised version of the report. Read the full article here. Sutcliffe faces police probe Still in eThekwini, The Mercury reported on 1 March that municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe would be reported to the police and the council would take steps to recover from him R1.1-million that the city lost. City manager Sibusiso Sithole said Sutcliffe would be reported to the police for failing to report fraud and corruption in the municipality to law enforcement agencies and for not taking “reasonable” steps to prevent irregular expenditure. Mayor James Nxumalo said if Sutcliffe had been aware of certain fraudulent and corrupt activities which resulted in irregular expenditure; he should have reported the matter to the mayor, the auditor-general and the co-operative governance MEC. However, Sutcliffe only reported the activities two years after the events. Read the full article here. Excerpt An alleged attempt to influence one of South Africa’s biggest state tenders with an “open chequebook” bribe was effectively swept under the carpet by the high-level committee deliberating on it in 2008, it was recently reported in Mail & Guardian.