Nine corrupt scandals costing more than Nkandla

Cape Town – A report by trade union Solidarity details nine corruption scandals that, over the past number of years, have cost the taxpayer much more than the R246m spent on the President Jacob Zuma's home in Nkandla.

“According to the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa, R700m was lost due to corruption during the two decades following the dawn of democracy,” Solidarity explained in its report.

According to Dr Eugene Brink, senior researcher at the Solidarity Research Institute, the findings in the report, although shocking, are merely a drop in the ocean.

“It is impossible to quantify the actual extent of corruption in South Africa as much of the corruption takes place unnoticed and unpunished.

“Furthermore, there are even more incidents of corruption not mentioned in this report that exceed Nkandla,”said Brink. “Therefore the findings in the report are not all-encompassing and are merely an indication that corruption is undeniably one of the biggest crises in our country.”

The top nine are...

1. Local government

In 2013, Corruption Watch declared local government to be the most corrupt institution in the country, Solidarity explains. Corruption Watch spokesperson Bongi Mlangeni said: “We receive too many reports about maladministration, mismanagement of public funds and abuse of resources by officials at local government levels. It seems there is a need to rethink how systems of accountability can be applied at these levels.”

2. Tenderpreneurship

Irregular expenditure of R2.429bn was incurred by 17 auditees in the Free State during 2013-14. It was mainly caused by non-compliance with supply chain management requirements, the report revealed. “During 2013/14, nearly 60% of the auditees had material findings concerning uncompetitive and unfair procurement processes and these findings were also the main cause of the irregular expenditure of R11 351m.”

3. Tshwane prepaid meters

What seemed like a wise measure aimed at combatting the non-payment of electricity in the City of Tshwane, was exposed as an exceedingly expensive and corrupt imbroglio, said Solidarity. “Tshwane had paid PEU a gargantuan R830m between October 2013 and May 2015 to install 800 000 meters and manage the project for eight years. At the time of cancellation, only 12 930 meters had been installed while PEU was required to install more than 435 000 during the first two years – a target it was highly unlikely to achieve.”

4. The SAPS

Cash-flush criminals bribe police officers to thwart cases against them while poor people are denied justice as they simply do not have the means to pay police officers to do the work they are supposed to, Solidarity said.

5. The Metro police

In January 2015, three Tshwane metro cops were arrested for bribery, while the Tshwane Metro Police Department sacked 67 members of its anti-corruption unit in late 2011 and officially disbanded the unit in 2012, the report showed. “A worrying 184 out of 2 600 officers at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) were probed for corruption between 2009 and 2011.”

6. Prasa

Reeling from recent revelations on a corrupt tender that saw R620m being wasted on unsuitable locomotives, the beleaguered Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has been coming off its rails, Solidarity said. “The public protector found that (ex CEO Lucky) Montana was responsible for large-scale maladministration, abuse of power and wasteful expenditure during his tenure at Prasa.”

7. False qualifications

Ever since the ignominious revelations that ANC spokesperson Carl Niehaus lied about his qualifications, many government bigwigs have been outed as qualification falsifiers, Solidarity said. “No scandal of this kind was bigger than the one surrounding former Arts and Culture Minister and struggle stalwart Pallo Jordan. It was established in 2014 that Jordan lied about obtaining his PhD and has no tertiary qualifications whatsoever.”

8. Home Affairs

A 2015 report showed that the Marabastad refugee office in Pretoria is a hotbed of corruption and bribery and one of the most corrupt Home Affairs offices in the country, Solidarity said. “A 2012 report analysing the complaints lodged with the National Anti-Corruption hotline stated that corruption at the Department of Home Affairs took fourth place, with 781 cases reported since the hotline’s inception in 2004.”

9. The cabinet and parliament

In 2006, 14 ANC LPs were convicted and fined after pleading guilty to theft and fraud charges due to the abuse of parliamentary travel vouchers in a case known as Travelgate, Solidarity pointed out. “Prominent ANC LPs such as Nathi Mthethwa, Lindiwe Sisulu, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Beaty Dlulane, Mnyamezeli Booi, Lindiwe Sisulu, Ruth Bengu and Humphrey Mmemezi as well as EFF LPs such as Dali Mpofu and Julius Malema have all been implicated in irregular and corrupt practices.”

* Solidarity said it consulted various media sources and indexes to analyse ten case studies.