With a bunch of high-profile corruption stories making newspaper headlines in 2013, South Africans have had a lot to read about. But there’s more to come – in 2014 we expect several cases to be wrapped up in court, and there’s the public protector’s Nkandla report, due out some time this month.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela, the public protector, is expected to release her long-awaited final report on Nkandla, the homestead of President Jacob Zuma, before the end of January. Her provisional report was released in November 2013.
There has already been a flurry of investigative work around the controversial matter – a report from the parliamentary joint standing committee on intelligence was released on 14 November, and the Department of Public Works’ task team made known the results of its investigation on 19 December.
Fraudsters to face the music
Durban businesswoman Shauwn Mpisane faces 53 charges of fraud and forgery in order to secure multi-million rand tenders from the Department of Public Works. Her case is scheduled for 31 January, and in court she’ll defend the accusations that she submitted forged documents to obtain Construction Industry Board grading, and then used the documents to win five public works department tenders worth R140-million.
This is not the only battle Mpisane is fighting – she is also accused of inflating the invoices of her company by R4.7-million to decrease her tax bill, and of interfering with witnesses related to her fraud trial. All three matters will be decided in court. Mpisane was released on bail of R100 000 earlier in 2013.
Another trial, scheduled for 27 March, is that of former health and social services MEC in Limpopo, Miriam Segabutla, who is out on bail of R15 000 after she was accused of tender fraud amounting to R15-million. Her case involves the awarding of tenders to companies that were closely linked to her, resulting in a conflict of interest. In a letter to Madonsela, Segabutla initially denied the allegations but the public protector’s subsequent investigation found that she hadn’t been truthful.
More scandalous behaviour by a government official involves the Northern Cape’s ANC chairperson and finance MEC, John Block who, with co-accused Gaston Savoi – director of Intaka Holdings – faces multiple criminal charges ranging from corruption to fraud and money laundering involving R48-million. The charges relate to the purchasing of a portable water purification unit at inflated prices and the case goes to court on 3 February 2014. Block still holds his position of ANC leader in that province.
Other people who made the news for the wrong reasons, whom the public will be watching with interest in 2014, include agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, former communications minister Dina Pule, former police intelligence head RIchard Mdluli, and Nonzwakazi Usiba, the principal of Thubelihle Intermediate School in White City, Soweto, who is currently suspended.
Action against construction companies
Having made a submission to the Competition Tribunal in mid-2013, calling for all those affected by the collusion and bid-rigging uncovered in the construction industry to take action, Corruption Watch is also anticipating that claims against the corrupt companies will be instituted in 2014.
Towards the end of 2013 the tribunal issued four certificates to the City of Cape Town against Aveng, Stefanutti Stocks and Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon, for work relating to the construction of the Cape Town stadium. The certificates will enable city management to file claims against the three companies, and more certificates are expected to follow. We will be watching this case closely for new developments.