The department of public works is one of the worst government departments when it comes to the alleged mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, according the annual report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). And the majority of the court cases stemming from the unit’s investigations are focused on challenging that department’s allegedly dodgy contracts. Now public works, the department that exercises substantial power in the building and leasing of government buildings, will need to convince President Cyril Ramaphosa that it is taking appropriate action to address the multiple concerns raised in an as-yet unreleased report by the SIU. The SIU in October confirmed that it had handed more than 15 reports to Ramaphosa in 2018,including the findings of a potentially explosive investigation into alleged “theft, fraud, corruption, irregularities, malpractices of maladministration” at the public works department.

It has also given Ramaphosa its report on the North West municipalities,...

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