Suspensions at SA Department of Water Affairs

3 November 2010
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3 November 2010 | Angeline Albert

Two South African government officials have been suspended, pending an investigation into alleged breaches in procurement practice.

The government’s Department of Water Affairs this week suspended its chief financial officer Onesmus Ayaya and the deputy director general for Corporate Services and acting director general Nobubele Ngele as a precaution.

In May 2010, the office of the Auditor General completed an investigation and published a report in which individuals including the two officials were implicated in several breaches of procurement procedures. The Auditor General was investigating allegations of financial irregularities, maladministration and mismanagement at the Department of Water Affairs.

In a separate investigation by the Public Service Commission the two were also implicated in separate allegations of procurement malpractice.

In a statement, the Department of Water Affairs said: “Given the seriousness of the allegations arising from both processes, the department has thought it prudent to put them on precautionary suspension pending due process in this regard.

“The department also wishes to assure members of the public, and the country at large, that this unfortunate situation will not have an adverse effect in the manner in which the department conducts its business. Paramount in the department’s agenda is the delivery of services to South Africans and the professionals who remain in the department will discharge this responsibility with the necessary commitment and diligence.”

The department pointed out that the suspensions did not equate to wrongdoing. “The legal principle, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ applies wholly in this case,” the statement said.

 In July 2010, the director-general of the Department of Water Affairs, Pam Yako was suspended, while the Auditor General investigated the department. She remains on suspension while the investigation continues.

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