IFP, DA welcome SIU’s investigation into the KZN Department of Sports, Arts and Culture

The Special Investigating Unit has been authorised to investigate the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports, Arts and Culture following allegations of corruption and maladministration in the construction of nine libraries and the supply of books.

The Special Investigating Unit has been authorised to investigate the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports, Arts and Culture following allegations of corruption and maladministration in the construction of nine libraries and the supply of books.

Published Apr 5, 2024


Durban – The IFP and DA have welcomed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sports, Arts and Culture following allegations of corruption and maladministration in the construction of nine libraries and the supply of books.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation 160 of 2024, authorising the SIU to investigate allegations of serious maladministration and corruption in the affairs of the KZN Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and to recover any financial losses suffered by the state or the department.

The SIU’s investigation will look into the construction of these libraries:

  • Dukuduku Library
  • Nibela Modular Library
  • Kwankosi Khumalo Modular Library
  • Kwakhetha Modular Library
  • Mpembeni Modular Library
  • Ntunjambili Modular Library
  • Donny Dalton Modular Library
  • Mfekayo Modular Library
  • Kwanzimakwe Modular Library

“The SIU will also investigate any unauthorised, irregular, fruitless, or wasteful expenditure incurred by the department or the state. The scope of the investigation also covers any unlawful or improper conduct by department officials or employees, the applicable suppliers or service providers, or any other person or entity which has caused or may cause serious harm to the interests of the public,” Kganyago said.

“Furthermore, the investigation will also establish whether there was any unlawful appropriation or expenditure of public money.”

Kganyago explained that the proclamation covered allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place from January 1, 2020, to March 28, 2024, the date of the publication of the proclamation, or before January 1, 2020 and after the date of the proclamation that are relevant to, connected with, and incidental to the matters or involve the same persons, entities or contracts investigated.

“In addition to investigating maladministration, malpractice, corruption and fraud, the SIU will identify system failures and make systematic recommendations to improve measures to prevent future losses,” he said.

He also said that in line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act), the SIU would refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovered during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action. The SIU is empowered by the SIU Act to institute a civil action in the high court or a special tribunal in its name to correct any wrongdoing caused by acts of corruption, fraud or maladministration uncovered during its investigation.

IFP leader in the KZN legislature Blessed Gwala said: “We are shocked but not surprised by the SIU investigation, which is an indictment of the ANC-led KZN provincial government.”

Gwala said the the same department was involved in an alleged R4 million “booze scandal” at the Durban ICC in April 2023 when alcohol vouchers worth R6 000 were distributed to staff members and their families and featured artists who performed to empty seats. This took place during the tenure of former KZN Sports, Arts and Culture MEC Amanda Bani-Mapena. No one has been prosecuted.

He said the IFP had, in the past, raised its concerns about government departments that appointed incompetent contractors that provided poor workmanship. He said serious questions must be asked: how were these incompetent contractors awarded tenders to build libraries? Where are the checks and balances? Was there collusion between these companies and departmental officials?

“Heads must roll. This is yet another example of wasteful expenditure of public funds, as substandard projects continue to cost the state billions of rands that are unaccounted for,” Gwala said.

The DA in KZN’s spokesperson on sports, arts and culture, Bradley Singh, said the party welcomed the decision to investigate the department.

Singh said the president’s proclamation was the culmination of almost four years of hard work by the DA, which initiated the complaint, requested the investigation and provided strong evidence to support a prima facie case.

He said the proclamation was also a victory for the people of KZN who were being fleeced by vultures who had taken money intended to support sports, arts and culture within the province.

He said the proclamation also permitted the SIU to investigate severe mismanagement around the building of nine KZN libraries along with the acquisition of books from a group of suppliers. Listed among the department’s 17 designated book suppliers are a travel agency, construction firms, and businesses that have supplied seedlings and agricultural tools to the government.

Singh said the DA expected the SIU investigation to cover all instances of looting within the department, a concern repeatedly raised by the DA, which encompasses:

  • A R18m payment to Telkom for library internet services, without following proper bid processes, resulting in an irregular expenditure of R9m and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R1.3m, as reported by the Auditor General.
  • The purchase of 266 laptops at R7.8m.
  • Inflated expenditure of R5m on Covid-19 prevention measures at non-operational modular libraries.
  • The upfront payment of R7.8m for library magazines that were never delivered.
  • The purchase of 27 generators for libraries, at R8.5m.

“The DA can also confirm that the excessive fee paid to the consultant for supervising the construction of libraries is now under investigation by the SIU. We anticipate the recovery of funds from employees and suppliers involved in maladministration,” Singh said.

“With the president's proclamation signed, the DA is determined to see those responsible for stealing public funds brought to justice and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they are punished.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the department said on its Facebook page that MEC Ntuthuko Mahlaba would go to uMkhanyakude for an infrastructure roll-out this weekend.

“We will start by handing over Mfekayi Modular Library under Inkosi Mtubatuba LM then move to KwaMakhasa under Big Five Hlabisa LM to open yet another library before hosting SukaSambe ward-based intervention at Mbazwana Multi-purpose Centre KwaMhlabuyalingana.”

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