Pub­lic Works DG in fu­neral fraud scan­dal

Over R76m spent on ANC stal­warts’ buri­als


THE Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of Pub­lic Works, Sam Vukela, is in hot wa­ter after the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Ac­counts (Scopa) de­manded an­swers on the al­ter­ing of a re­port im­pli­cat­ing him in the fu­neral fraud scan­dal for se­nior po­lit­i­cal fig­ures in the coun­try.

It was re­ported last year that ser­vice providers were paid more than R76 mil­lion to con­duct fu­ner­als for late Strug­gle stal­warts Win­nie Madik­izela-Man­dela, ex-Cab­i­net min­is­ter Zola Sk­weyiya and for­mer chief of state pro­to­col Billy Modise.

But the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works has said the prices for the fu­ner­als were in­flated by the ser­vice provider.

Scopa mem­bers yes­ter­day wanted to know what ac­tion was taken against of­fi­cials im­pli­cated in the ten­der fraud.

A se­nior of­fi­cial had named four other of­fi­cials who were im­pli­cated, but left out Vukela’s name.

This an­gered Scopa mem­bers, who de­manded an­swers after a re­port sub­mit­ted to Scopa chair­per­son Mkhuleko Hlengwa had Vukela’s name scratched out.

Hlengwa said they would not tol­er­ate the be­hav­iour of of­fi­cials who tam­pered with the re­port.

“If there is one thing that makes my hair stand on end, it is this be­hav­iour. It is hon­estly un­ac­cept­able. One of the of­fi­cials im­pli­cated is in this room,” he said of Vukela.

Vukela said he had not seen the re­port and was not aware he was im­pli­cated in it.

“I want to put it on record that I agree with you when names of (im­pli­cated peo­ple) are men­tioned, they should be men­tioned. My col­league should men­tion my name. I am not aware I am im­pli­cated in any­thing,” said Vukela.

But Hlengwa said his col­leagues were pro­tect­ing each other. Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Works Pa­tri­cia de Lille said she was re­view­ing the fu­neral sys­tem for se­nior fig­ures in the coun­try.

“I have sought a re­view of the whole ar­range­ment with the in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee led by min­is­ter Jack­son Mthembu,” she said.

De Lille said one of the re­views was to put a cap on the fu­ner­als de­clared state or of­fi­cial fu­ner­als. She said she had raised this is­sue with Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

“When the pres­i­dent de­clares a fu­neral an of­fi­cial fu­neral or a state fu­neral, I ask of­fi­cials to im­me­di­ately in­form me,” said De Lille.

She said the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral had be­gun the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in June last year. She said they en­gaged au­dit­ing firm Price­wa­ter­house­Coop­ers to con­duct an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter.

A re­port was sub­mit­ted in De­cem­ber last year. De Lille told Scopa that Vukela was im­pli­cated in the re­port. She said they needed to act on it. Scopa said they needed a re­port back from De Lille within the next two weeks.

SAM Vukela.

PA­TRI­CIA de Lille.

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