ANC connected cadres shamelessly profited from the misery of KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape flood victims

Issued by Eleanore Bouw-Spies MP – DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)
09 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Eleanore Bouw-Spies MP

The first special audit report on flood relief funds for the 2022 flooding in KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, presented today before the portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance by the Auditor General’s (A-G) office, confirmed what we have always suspected – there was gross manipulation of procurement processes to favor pre-selected suppliers, some of whom were not even qualified to do the job.

Since the A-G did not mention the suppliers who fraudulently benefited from the manipulated tender processes, the DA will be submitting a PAIA application to the A-G’s office requesting a list of the offending suppliers. Once we secure a list of these offenders, the DA will approach national Treasury requesting that they be placed on the database of restricted suppliers.

Some of the glaring findings made by the A-G in the special report include:

  • Awards were made to three different contractors with the same director, pointing to possible bid rigging.
  • Awards were also made to contractors of which the directors are government employees or have business partners employed by the state.
  • A-G identified indicators that awards might have been split to avoid a competitive bidding process, which contravenes the principles of fairness and competitiveness.

While the ANC governments in these two Provinces were manipulating procurement processes to benefit connected cadres, flood victims paid a huge price in what the A-G called ‘a slow response’ with ‘little progress’ being made.

For example, in KwaZulu-Natal, only 736 of the 1 810 temporary residential units had been completed and were in use while in the Eastern Cape only 45 of the 4 799 temporary residential units had been completed. Victims were not getting the support that was due to them because connected cadres were more concerned about lining their pockets than alleviating the humanitarian disaster.

In one extreme example which exposed the profligacy that characterized the feeding frenzy over flood relief funds, contract pricing from the same suppler, agreed by the Department of Water and Sanitation for the hiring of water tankers, showed that the daily rate charged per tanker was more than double the rate agreed by eThekwini Metro. The rate charged per kilometre travelled by tankers hired by the department was also 197% more than the amount paid by the metro. ANC cadres were shamelessly profiting from misery.

The DA will ensure that every supplier and individual who benefited illegally from the flood relief funds will never do business with the state. The ANC governments in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal must hang their hands in shame for opening the doors of public funds to a feeding frenzy while flood victims struggled to get by.