Source: South African government

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) together with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners South Africa (ACFE SA) have come together to create awareness and encourage the public to take a proactive role in the ongoing battle against fraud and corruption during the International Fraud Awareness Week campaign.

International Fraud Awareness Week logo

The International Fraud Awareness Week, to be undertaken from 13–19 November 2022, was established in year 2000 by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) to minimise the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education. The ACFE SA Chapter has been a supporter of this global campaign since its onset, and this year is no different.

During the week, officials from DWS will be educated on what constitutes fraud and corruption, how to identify indicators of such activities and how to implement the internal controls that will prevent, detect and combat various exposures to fraud.

The DWS, the SIU and the ACFE SA have adopted a zero-tolerance stance towards fraud and corruption, therefore all officials are urged to play a role and support every initiative that the Department, working with its stakeholders, takes to fight fraud and corruption.

The department’s efforts in rooting out fraud and corruption elements is taking shape, with 97 officials having been found guilty of various financial offences since 2013. Of the 97 officials,13 have been dismissed, including a deputy director-general recently. Meanwhile, 38 officials received final written warning letters, while others were demoted and others suspended without pay for periods ranging from one to three months.

As part of the measures to turn the tide, the Chief Directorate: Internal Audit has been proactive in nipping fraud and corruption in the bud by holding awareness sessions and educating officials in the department about effects of their actions. To this end, 78 awareness campaigns were held during the period 2019 to 2022 with 1927 officials in attendance.

The department has a dedicated capacity to investigate allegations and incidents of fraud and corruption. These Investigators are members of the ACFE and hold the Certified Fraud Examiner designation. This means that they are part of the global network of anti-fraud professionals, and they are suitably qualified and experienced to carry out these investigations.

The DWS is serious about fighting fraud and corruption and often collaborates with the SIU by sharing information and ensuring that documents are provided timeously to ensure the successful investigation of the allegations. The department also institutes disciplinary action against those who have been found by the SIU to have committed acts of fraud or corruption. It further collaborates with the SIU by joining the litigation process that has been initiated by the SIU to recover funds that have been stolen or to have the contracts reviewed and set aside.

The public and other government officials are urged to report fraud and corruption activities to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline which is hosted by the Office of the Public Service Commission by calling 0800 701 701 toll free number.