Acting Director-General of Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Nomonde Mnukwa, says government has measures in place to ensure that the public purse is protected from corruption and looting during the National State of Disaster related to the energy crisis.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, gazetted the regulations for the state of disaster on Monday following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of a National State of Disaster during the State of the Nation Address in February.
Mnukwa said accounting officers in State departments are responsible for making sure that fraud and corruption measures are abided by throughout this period.
“Due to the fact that we are the public service and we utilise public funds, we have to have a responsible and accountable public service and on top of that, we have to make sure that we have mitigating measures against possible corruption and fraud during this period.
“The accounting officers are responsible for taking steps to ensure that anti-corruption measures are implemented during the emergency procurement. Any procurement that is undertaken during this period must be published and reported to Parliament within the month of expenditure by the accounting officers and authorities, including details of such procurement and reasons for deviation from normal procurement procedures.
“We do believe that as government, with these mitigating measures that we putting in place, the coffers of the State will be protected from possible corruption and fraud,” she said.
Mnukwa said the regulations also go a step further to ensure that no state funds are misused.
“The regulations have a prescript, in terms of the Auditor General, to conduct real time audits and reports on accounts and financial management of all emergency procurement undertaken during the National State of Disaster period,” she said.
Mnukwa explained that the regulations set out how government will move with increased speed to mobilise its resources to mitigate the impact of severe energy constraints.
“The general measures of the regulations… are just to ensure that all institutions within the national, provincial and local spheres of government… must, for the duration of the declared National State of Disaster – within their available resources – firstly adopt energy saving measures to contain the effects of the disaster and prevent escalation of the electricity supply shortfall.
“Secondly, [they must] ensure continuous operation of health services, water infrastructure and other specified essential services and infrastructure… including installing alternative energy sources or other measures to provide an uninterrupted power supply,” she said.
Mnukwa said the regulations also allow government departments to “implement a raft of measures to protect the public interest” and ensure that essential services remain delivered.
“The continuous provision of services will be achieved through the installation of alternative energy sources, measures to provide an uninterrupted power supply and essential infrastructure being exempted from load shedding schedules.
“These exemptions will be undertaken in a manner that does not result in an increased risk of placing the national grid under pressure. The regulations will also enable the release of personnel across the various state organs for the rendering of emergency services and other resources in general,” she said.
The gazetted regulations are available at https://www.gov.za/documents/disaster-management-act-national-state-disaster-impact-severe-electricity-supply. –
Source: South African Government News Agency