The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] is shocked yet not surprised that the Department of Water and Sanitation while under the stewardship of Minister Nomvula Mokonyane overspent its R14 billion budget by R 2 billion.
As NEHAWU, we are not surprised by this recklessness with public funds by the department because over the years the department has been embroiled on issues of overspending, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. We reject outrightly the attempt to blame municipal debts and budget cuts for the financial crisis the department finds itself under. This for us smirks of an attempt to downplay the fact that the department has been reckless with its budget. Indeed, any failure or reluctance to deal with the source of the financial problems will only exacerbate the crisis.
Throughout the tenure of the Minister Mokonyane, the department has also been evasive when it comes to account to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation. The department has been collapsing under the watch of the Minister and nothing was done to remedy the situation. Instead, dodgy tenders for security services were awarded to dubious companies and the department continued to outsource the building of dams to private service providers while workers sat idle and the equipment meant to undertake these jobs gather dust in Jan Kempdorp in the Northern Cape.
Instability and financial mismanagement has been the order of the day in the department. All of these, took place while we are still waiting for a report from the Special Investigating Unit [SIU] about irregularities in the department as it relates to a probe into supply chain irregularities and conflicts of interest.
The national union also calls on the National Treasury to account to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts [Scopa] on the overdraft the department took with Reserve Bank. We vehemently reject the funding of recklessness that is meant to line the pockets of the greedy. If the South African government is serious about uprooting the scourge of corruption then they must prioritise this matter and severely punish those found to be guilty of wrongdoings.
The national union will immediately make a request to Scopa to make a presentation on the corruption and tender irregularities that has been taking place at the department to relevant institutions including considering meeting us on more information regarding maladministration and high levels of exploitation and abuse in the department. Given an opportunity, in our presentation we will present cases of our members who have either been suspended or charged for refusing to implement decisions imposed to them to appoint certain companies benefitting from undue tender processes of the department.
As NEHAWU, we welcome the move by Scopa to open criminal cases against the department and hope that those found to have had their hands in the cookie jar will not escape the long arm of the law if needs be, we will join the opening of criminal cases. At this point, we call for an urgent full parliamentary inquiry into the department to deracinate those responsible for running the department to the ground. The national union hopes that the fact that Minister Mokonyane has been shunted to the Department of Communication will not absolve her of any wrongdoing that she might have done while in charge of the department.
NEHAWU wishes to reiterate its position of embarking on a nation-wide strike action on the 8th March 2018 for the resolution of all matter tabled which resulted into a deadlock and collapsed negotiations. Apart from collapsing the department financially the department has also neglected reasonable demands made by workers for the past 13 months. On the 5th March 2018, the national union will commence with lunch hour pickets building up to the total shut down on 8th March 2018 onwards until all our demands are met.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500
or email: email@example.com Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za