DA calls for forensic investigation into IDT

Issued by Samantha Graham-Maré MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
17 Apr 2023 in News

I have written to the new Minister of Public Works and Development, Minister Sihle Zikalala to request a forensic investigation into the management and operations of the Independent Development Trust (IDT).

For years, this entity has been inefficient at best and corrupt at worst, to the extent that the former Minister attempted to shut its doors in 2021. Following our advice to her that this could only be achieved if the Board of Trustees unanimously resolved to dissolve the Trust, Minister De Lille was forced to reinstate the Board and attempt to resurrect the failing entity.

The initial attempts by the new Board to turn the entity around appeared to be promising but revelations from insiders indicate that all is not well in the IDT with whistleblowers being targeted. There is a growing body of evidence of non-adherence to both statutory and internal policy processes, and honest officials are being sidelined. The main concerns include the appointment of staff, interference in supply chain processes and questionable salaries being paid to some officials.

Of particular concern is the ongoing attempt by the entity’s management to lease a new head office building, while owning another. The lease, which is expected to cost around R700 000 per month, is part of the budget presented recently to the Portfolio Committee, which indicates that the entity will run at a R82 million deficit (including capital costs).

The existing building, while ostensibly dilapidated and run down is owned outright and does not attract a monthly cost for accommodation. The IDT fails to see the irony in the fact that they are positioning themselves as facilities managers but cannot maintain their own building.

Minister Zikalala has appeared to adopt a “see-for-himself” approach to his new portfolio, having recently visited the Beitbridge washing line, so I trust that he will do the same with the IDT. If nothing else, the entity requires closer scrutiny than what it has attracted over the past two years.

The DA will continue to fight for the protection and support of whistleblowers to encourage people to come forward and provide information on corruption within the public sector. There are too many thieves and fraudsters abusing the public purse and getting away with it. The only way to save this country is to stop the corruption.