It reads like the start of a joke, but we’re afraid this one’s no laughing matter.
National Treasury has discovered about 12,000 dead people in its register of companies that do business with the state.
A report by the Sunday Times has revealed that there are around 12 000 people on the South African government’s books that aren’t even alive. National Treasury’s register of companies shows that these folks are doing business with the state, but that they don’t even have a heartbeat. Some people set up companies with fake documents or the identities of dead citizens and use these entities to tender for a project at higher prices.
National Treasury’s procurement office started a ‘ government clean up’ a few years ago as a means of putting an end to irregular expenditure and wasteful spending and the 12 000 ‘zombie entrepreneurs’ were discovered thanks to this task team.
Additionally, it’s been discovered that 14 000 state employees are listed as directors of companies that aren’t even legally allowed to do business with the state, but have been given government tenders.
“We will report on them even if we drag those 14,000 to court by their hair and lock them up,” Schalk Human, the acting head of the task team, told the Sunday Times.
According to the newspaper, fraud and other dodgy dealings eat into government’s R600 billion annual goods and services budget to the extent of around 40%, which is why Human’s task team is so important.
Folks looking to extort the system setup companies using the identities of dead people, and then use these companies to tender for services advertised by the government. The same people who’ve set up the fake companies then bid for tenders, against themselves, which makes their real company look like the better option.
“It looks like there is competition, yet it’s the same guy,” Human said.
Source: The South African