Corruption Watch (CW) is in court today to demand that the decision of the CEO of the South African Social Services Agency (Sassa) to pay R317-million to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) be set aside, and that CPS be compelled to pay back this amount. The court hearing in the North Gauteng High Court is yet another example of Sassa being taken to court for administrative irregularities.
CW first launched the application in March 2015 and in early 2017 Sassa withdrew its opposition to the review application after two years of defending its position, leaving CPS as the sole respondent in the hearing today. At the time of the withdrawal, CW wrote to Sassa requesting reasons for the reversal, which it duly provided. However it is inexplicable as to why such withdrawal could not have been made much earlier, potentially saving the institution – and taxpayer – a huge amount of legal costs.
This case highlights the role of a civil society organisation taking the necessary steps in the public interest to recover public funds from a private sector source, obtained via an irregular procurement process, when in fact it should be the public institution, in this case Sassa, driving this action.
Currently, the mechanisms for the recovery of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure are tedious and although the Auditor-General highlights such expenditure in annual reports for various state entities, the investigation and recovery of such losses are exceptionally slow, oftentimes resulting in the responsible persons being held unaccountable in addition to the non-recovery of losses. As a result, Corruption Watch is very interested the amendments to the Public Audit Bill and will be making submissions on how changes to the Bill could aid in the recovery of losses incurred due to mismanagement and negligence.
To view our court papers please click here
For more about Corruption Watch, refer to www.corruptionwatch.org.za
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/press-releases