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Corruption Watch (CW) marks 10 years of activism in 2022. Since the day the organisation opened its doors – on 26 January 2012 – it has taken guidance from the reports of corruption that have come in at the rate of thousands every year. This has allowed it to adapt to the fluctuating situation in the country and to target particular areas and hotspots of corruption.

Investigations form just one part of CW’s body of work. It is not the major part, as the organisation does not have the investigative capacity and powers of a Special Investigating Unit or National Prosecuting Authority. However, all reports received are carefully considered though only some go forward to our legal and investigations unit. To make up for the fact that we can’t investigate every report, we investigate those reports that we feel will have the greatest positive impact on the fight against corruption.

If we are unable to investigate an report we will refer it to another organisation or government agency who will be able to take further action.

Following is a table detailing some of the investigations we have conducted over the past 10 years, the steps we have taken, and the outcomes. The table is meant to accompany the 2021 annual report, released on 31 March 2022.

YearInvestigationPublic entity/bodySteps takenLink to article (for context)
2012Tender irregularitiesMvula Trust (NGO)– CW probed allegations of irregularities in a R30-million tender for Mvula Trust to be leading agent in CWP project
– CW publicised its findings through a press statement in January 2013
– Article written to expose details of the tender flaws
– CW submitted findings of its investigation to Cogta in May 2013  
2012Bribery for tendersNeo Africa– CW investigated allegations brought forward by a whistle-blower that the company paid bribes to public officials when tendering for state contracts
– CW handed its initial findings to City Press, which published an exposé on the matter, including details of an audio recording of Neo Africa head Vivien Natasen allegedly saying he will put aside R3-million for bribes to public officials  
2013Misuse of funds/Abuse of powerThubelihle Intermediary School– CW commissioned a forensic investigation into financial status of the school
– CW alerted GDE to its findings, implicating principal Nonzwakazi Usiba in the mismanagement of over R200 000 of the school’s funds
– Usiba suspended by GDE, tried to resign while on sick leave
– GDE rejected Usiba’s resignation, threatening to dismiss her if she failed to report for duty at the end of her sick leave  
2013Ghost employeeLaerskool H.M. Swart– CW investigated allegations that teacher Verona Drinkwater drew a salary between 2010 and 2012 while not performing teaching duties at the school, as she also worked as an estate agent in a private business  
2013RDP housing allocation irregularitiesGauteng provincial department of human settlements– CW probed systemic gaps in allocation process in Gauteng
Article published on 28 March 2013
– CW examined national policy on low cost housing with National Department of Human Settlements
– CW presented three case studies to the Gauteng department of human settlements to probe further  
2014Financial maladministrationAvon Junior Primary School (KZN)– CW conducted investigation into maladministration allegations against principal Raj Maharaj
– Due to pressure from CW, working with the school’s SGB, the provincial department placed Maharaj under precautionary suspension  
2014Misuse of resources/Abuse of powerJohannesburg Child Welfare– CW investigated allegations with the Gauteng department of social development
– CW published article exposing the findings of its investigation  
2014Tender irregularitiesGDE/IDT– CW investigated allegations with GDE and IDT
– CW published an article exposing the findings of its investigation    
2015Corruption in public schoolsGeneral– CW conducted 10 investigations into allegations of corruption in public schools
– CW compiled a report titled Loss of Principle. It looked complaints received between 2012 and 2015  
2016Immigration corruptionDepartment of Home Affairs– CW compiled and published a conclusive report titled Project Lokisa: Asylum at a Price as part of Project Lokisa, launched in June 2015
– CW contributed to a DHA white paper in February 2019 on the department’s repositioning programme  
2017Abuse of powerSiphesihle Secondary School– CW investigated allegations of sexual misconduct against the principal of the school Sifiso Jele
– CW conducted interviews with several sources at the school, including Mr Jele
– CW commissioned a locally-based legal firm to follow the proceedings of Mr Jele’s court case following his arrest
– Mr Jele requested CW to remove an article written on the case after he was acquitted by the Verulam Magistrates Court on a charge of sexual assault of a minor
– CW refused to remove the article, as it did not contain false information at the time of publishing
– Mr Jele was dismissed by the Pinetown education district after being found guilty of misconduct
– Mr Jele appealed his dismissal  
2018Tender fronting/Procurement irregularitiesAirports Company of South Africa– CW conducted a preliminary investigation into the matter
– CW shared its findings with ACSA, which committed in writing that it would investigate further and respond to CW with its own findings
– CW also contacted the implicated party, who promised to furnish proof of legitimacy of award. This never happened
2018Procurement irregularitiesEastern Cape Department of Education– CW conducted a preliminary investigation into the matter
– CW shared its findings with the department, which committed in writing that it would investigate further and respond to CW with its own findings
2018False record of government fundingJoe Morolong Municipality, NC– CW wrote to then municipal manager Tshepo Bloom, who acknowledged receipt and promised to respond
– CW then  wrote to official in legal services Eugene Kgokong, who made the same promise
– Efforts to access the information required were repeated without success  
2018Nepotism/ Procurement IrregularitiesCity of Tshwane– CW wrote to the council speaker’s office with details of the allegations. Our correspondence did not yield a response
– CW wrote to Tshwane a senior official in the municipality’s compliance office
– CW met with the official from compliance at CW offices, who acknowledged our efforts and promised to probe further With no success in getting a solid response from the official, CW proceeded to write a media query to the council, which also did not yield results
– CW proceeded to publish an article on the matter  
2021Project mismanagement/Nepotism – CW investigated allegations of mismanagement of a R25-million poultry farming project meant for a community in Mpumalanga
– CW engaged the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and is still awaiting a response on its investigation into the matter  
2021Nepotism/ Abuse of powerPublic Service Commission– CW was alerted to further details of alleged nepotism and abuse of power by the former DG of the PSC Dovhani Maphiswana. Also included in the complaint were new allegations relating to abuse of power and victimisation by chairperson Richard Sizani
– CW engaged the PSC first in an information-seeking exercise, and later with a media query and right to reply ahead of publishing an article on the matter
– CW further submitted its preliminary findings to the Auditor-General of South Africa with a view to seek a comprehensive audit of the PSC’s recruitment process during Mr Mamphiswana’s term, as well as its commissioners  
2021Fraud/NegligenceNedbank/– CW investigated allegations made by a private home owner financed by Nedbank that the bank failed to protect him from  fraudulent conduct by one of its consultants
– CW engaged Nedbank on the allegations, and learned that the bank investigated the employee, but that she was never disciplined by the bank, but instead resigned before an enquiry could commence. The bank did not pursue her charges further
– CW facilitated an engagement between the complainant and Nedbank in which he could make submissions for further investigation
– CW is due to soon publish an article detailing the investigation
Link to be added upon publishing. Awaiting response from implicated party