GENERAL

Officials suspended for allegedly stealing R300m

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has confirmed that over R300 million has been stolen in a cyber attack in the last 10 years with the most recent incident in May this year.

This was confirmed by newly appointed minister Dean Macpherson on Wednesday.

CYBER ATTACK COSTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE R300M

Macpherson said the incident in May where the attackers allegedly stole R24 million prompted a full forensic investigation by the Hawks, South African Police Service (SAPS), State Security Agency as well as experts in the ICT and cyber security.

Macpherson said it has become clear that his department has become a soft target and playground for cyber criminals for over a ten year period.

“I felt it important to let South Africans know what has happened and what we are doing it. I cannot dispute the possibility of collusion between officials and criminals in this prolonged period of theft.

“It is clear that we need better financial controls which I have said to the department are a matter of urgency,” he said.

Further, Macpherson said they cannot allow the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure to be subjected to unchecked looting, emphasising that the money could have been spent on improving the lives of South Africans.

“The investigation will be expanded and deepened to find the masterminds and the beneficiaries of this grand theft, and I want to see them in prison. Four officials have been suspended and 30 laptops seized by the investigators. The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure officials suspended include three senior management officials and one middle management official,” Macpherson added.

MINISTER TIGHTENS SPENDING ON POLITICIANS’ HOUSING

Last Thursday, Macpherson confirmed that there will be no procuring of any new housing stock or offices for both the executive and parliamentarians.

He said allocations would be made from existing state properties and that they will not entertain requests for new procurement. He emphasised that there will be no spending on existing properties, the executive will have to make do with the existing furniture.

Macpherson said the tight fiscal position of the state was a paramount consideration for his decision.

“Our economy cannot accommodate requests for the procurement of new accommodation. Moreover, we have listened to the message of the citizens about being prudent with the public purse and cut down on perks and invest more in creating jobs and growing the economy,” he explained.

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