The Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted an internal appeal to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Office of the Premier (OTP) (view here) on the grounds of refusing access to a forensic report into irregularities within the province’s now defunct e-procurement tool programme.
The move to appeal comes after the DA submitted a Public Access to Information Application (PAIA) (view here) to the Premier’s Office on 25 February in a bid to obtain the report. Despite the DA’s formal request for this document, it has not been supplied to date.
The development of the e-procurement tool – hailed as a solution to Supply Chain Management (SCM) challenges within the province’s government Departments – was halted in June 2016, five years ago. This despite R25 million having been spent on the project.
A subsequent written parliamentary reply from KZN’s Finance MEC to questions by the DA (view here) has revealed that the then MEC of Finance launched a forensic probe into the matter in October 2017, with a report presented to the provincial Treasury in March 2018. The same report was then handed over to the Office of the Premier in 2019.
The reply also indicates that the system was halted due to a security breach in the system. This contradicts earlier statements that the system was halted as a result of an instruction from National Treasury. The Premier needs to come clean and tell us which one it is? The security breach or the National Treasury instruction?
The Premier had 30 days to respond to the DA’s PAIA application, which his Office ignored. The question is why and what is he hiding? If it’s as simple as a system failure, why keep the report under lock and key? This is after all public money.
The Premier’s pronouncements on accountability and consequence management ring hollow in the face of such secrecy. If he is going to grandstand on issues as serious as this, then he should certainly lead from the front. Justice delayed is justice denied. Accountability and consequence should not take five years Mr Premier!
The DA now has no choice but to submit an internal appeal on the grounds of the Premier’s ongoing attempts to delay furnishing us with the information requested.
As KZN’s true opposition, we will not be deterred in exposing the ANC’s double-standards and will continue to focus on demanding accountability and consequence management from government. We owe this much to the people of KZN.