Thursday, 09 September 2021

Pretoria: At least 337 cases of alleged corruption in government departments have been reported to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH) in the period between April and the end of June this year.

This is according to a report released by the Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday.

The report noted that 133 of the 337 complaints called into the NACH related to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) R350 Social Relief of Distress grant.

“According to SASSA, all the cases referred to the institution were closed after conducting the process of appeal. In this respect, some cases were approved and others were rejected with valid reasons. Cases of appointment and procurement irregularities were investigated by the PSC,” the report said.

Other cases related to issues such as procurement irregularities, corruption, fraud and bribery.

According to the report, in the same period last year, only 233 complaints had been recorded, indicating an increase of at least 104 cases.

“This may be due to increased awareness of legislation relating to the protection of whistle blowers, such as the Protected Disclosures Act, thus instilling confidence in the process and outcomes of blowing the whistle. This may also be due to the fact that whistle blowing is no longer viewed as a negative act, as it was under the previous dispensation, thus removing some of the stigma that is often associated with whistle blowing,” the report said.

The bulk of complaints (243) were related to national departments and public entities (including SASSA), with the rest related to provincial departments.

“The PSC noted from the feedback provided by departments on concluded investigation that the number of the complaints investigated… were unsubstantiated. To this end, the PSC encourages members of the public and whistle blowers to provide full, detailed information to enable investigators to make informed conclusions.

“All complaints, as long as there is substance in them, should be investigated, irrespective of how minor is the corruption allegation,” the report said.

Moreover, the report highlighted that inefficient investigations by government departments were causing undue prejudice to whistle blowers.

“The PSC is concerned that departments are taking an extended period of time in providing feedback, despite the fact that whistle blowers are requesting feedback on progress made with investigations.

“Generally, many investigations are prolonged due to variety of factors like complexity and retrieval of supporting information. The efficiency with which the departments investigate allegations of corrupt activities reported to them contribute towards the effectiveness of the NACH,” it said.

The NACH can be reached on 0800 701 701.