Pietermaritzburg – KwaZulu-Natal’s treasury is investigating fraud and corruption amounting to R6.9bn, finance MEC Belinda Scott told a sitting of the legislature on Wednesday.
The treasury’s forensic investigation unit and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) were probing the alleged crimes, which date from 2009, she said while tabling treasury’s budget.
“Most of the allegations received and investigated are serious and complex in nature. The forensic investigation unit will continue to work hand-in-hand with the law enforcement agencies,” she told MPLs.
She said a number of departments had made arrests and taken disciplinary action against employees suspected of wrongdoing. She cited the recent AFU preservation order for R546m granted against a former transport department official as an example of efforts to stop corruption.
She conceded that a bleak economic outlook, exacerbated by the recent downgrading of South Africa’s debt to junk status posed big problems. Treasury would continue applying austerity measures.
“The cost-cutting measures remain in place as we still cannot afford lavish events and expenditure items that are not directed at service delivery for our people.”
She urged senior officials, especially accounting officers, to play their part in saving public funds.
Part of the R607.8m budget would go towards helping municipalities manage their finances, monitoring infrastructure spending in departments, and helping departments achieve clean audits.