Probe launched into Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department

Adam Wakefield, News24

Johannesburg - An investigation is to be launched into allegations of cronyism and corruption within certain Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) programmes.

MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, speaking before the Gauteng infrastructure portfolio committee at the provincial legislature on Friday, said victims claimed they were not paid regularly.

There were also claims that they were promised work, but friends and family of department staff received work opportunities instead.

The affected programmes were the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), the Zivuseni job programme, and National Youth Service.

Victims were jobless South Africans expecting to benefit from job opportunities through the EPWP and Zivuseni. The National Youth Service is a skills development programme.

“The poor amongst us have been grateful about how these programme are bringing food on the table to many families," the MEC told the committee.

"This initiative cannot be trashed just like that. It is not part of the policy of the African National Congress government."

"If there are people who go about exploiting our people in this manner, let us deal with them. Please chairperson, leave this matter to me and the premier [David Makhura] to deal with it. I will revert back to you and we will find the culprits and we will take action."

Mayathula-Khoza asked complainants to submit evidence and lay charges, with victims assured of protection and anonymity.

Reacting to reports of rife non-payment and worker abuse in Orange Farm, the MEC apologised "to each and every one for their sorrow".

"This is not how our government treats the people... Nobody has a right to harass anybody or ill-treat our people," Mayathula-Khoza said.

"It is not enough that we have apologised. We will make sure that these matters are dealt with fully. Someone must lay a charge and someone must bring evidence. Without evidence it is difficult to take. A full investigation must be conducted and it would be done by experts outside GDID.”

Mayathula-Khoza was at the legislature to table the department’s quarterly report, as well as update the committee on its job creation and poverty alleviation work. The allegations of corruption and cronyism were raised by a stakeholder attending the meeting.

The MEC said she would be in Orange Farm on Tuesday afternoon to "hear first-hand from each and everyone" as to what is happening.