Are government departments abusing the law to duck accountability?

Issued by Ina Cilliers MPL and Adriana Randall MPL –
07 Jul 2019 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance is concerned by the responses of both the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and the West Rand District Municipality to our applications for information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

We submitted a PAIA application to the Department of Roads and Transport requesting a copy of a report completed by Werksmans Attorneys into large scale tender irregularities at the Gautrain.

Similarly, we submitted a request to the West Rand District municipality for a copy of the forensic investigation into the illegal investments made with VBS Bank.

In both instances, our requests were denied, and in both instances – the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) was cited as the reason why these documents could not be released.

While the DA is cognisant of the significant role the POPI Act plays in safeguarding the personal information of individuals, we are of the belief that this Act is being abused as and used as an escape route to avoid accountability of those who looted through the illegal investments with VBS bank and irregular tenders at the Gautrain Management Agency.

Members of the Gauteng Legislature serve a vital oversight role in ensuring that public funds are not abused and that the people of Gauteng receive value for their money.

We will be appealing both these applications in the pursuit of transparency of accountability.

Should these appeals be dismissed, we will seek legal counsel on the matter and act accordingly.

It cannot be that good laws are used to cover up bad deeds.

The DA will continue to ensure that government is held to account and those who wrongfully benefit from dipping into the public purse are brought to book.