COSATU Free State urges Treasury to be vigilant of possible mismanagement of funds allocated to Jagersfontein

The Congress of South African Trade Unions(COSATU) in the Free State welcomes the prompt response by the provincial government after the Jagersfontein disaster that led to the destruction of the town and wrecked the lives of the communities in that area. This type of reaction should be standard right across the province despite the nature of event that may ensue in future. The realities of climate change have shown that natural disasters will become a common occurrence in the future. Even though the collapse of the slime dam was not a natural disaster, and albeit the mining company has taken responsibility for the extensive damage, the provincial government should always be ready to handle any catastrophe.

It is public knowledge that response to a disaster requires expenditure of funds provided by the state, emergency procurement and deviations. Procurement processes become vulnerable to abuse and misuse of funds. Given what the country witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot be oblivious to the potential abuse of processes and funds during this period of disaster mitigation.

COSATU therefore calls on the Office of The Premier and Provincial Treasury to be extra vigilant of the expenditure that would be incurred during this period. Treasury should monitor all allocation of funds and verify expenditure before payments are released. We propose that respective departments, the district and local municipality should be offered appropriate assistance for the processes to remain above board.

We further call on the provincial government to subject themselves to the Auditor General to allow for proper facilitation and surveillance.  The Premier must institute consequence management procedures without delay should any department be found to have acted in an unbecoming manner.

COSATU urges the African National Congress(ANC) in the province to provide suitable political oversight on the interventions that have been put in motion as part of the disaster mitigation strategy. The oversight should ensure that all efforts are directed to benefit only the community! Any wrongdoing that may occur at government level will project a negative image on the ANC as the governing party! It is the party’s responsibility to avoid any further damage to its reputation by working towards clean governance and restoring the confidence of the people it has been mandated to serve.

We have observed how unscrupulous some tenderpreneurs and public service managers can be even during times of adversity! We therefore need proactive steps to prevent such from reoccurring.

The struggle continues!

Issued by COSATU Free State

Enquiries Provincial Secretary Monyatso oa Mahlatsi @ 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923