DA calls for immediate plagiarism audit of all provincial departments

Issued by Kobus Botha, MPL
Office of the Premier portfolio committee member

Premier Oscar Mabuyane must immediately institute a plagiarism audit of all policy documents produced across all departments of his provincial administration, if he hopes to restore the public’s faith in provincial government processes.

Our journey into the fourth industrial revolution cannot be based on flawed planning if we are to build a capable state.

This follows after the hasty withdrawal of the ICT framework document, titled Provincial Digital Transformation Framework and Strategy Plan 2020 — 2025, last week after the media discovered that the document was an almost word for word copy of a 2015 Australian policy document.

This incident makes a mockery of consultative processes, and once more highlights how the ANC government policy of cadre deployment is undermining the integrity of our institutions.

Individuals who have been entrusted with drafting policies that will determine the future outcomes for the province and all who live here, should be professional individuals of political impartiality and impeccable work ethic. They should have all the necessary qualifications to deliver authentic, quality work.

This retracted ICT policy framework had direct implications for the Premier’s flawed broadband rollout plan, which has already cost taxpayers in excess of R606 million over the last three financial years, with a further R277 million budgeted for the current 2020/21 financial year.

To date this project has only connected four sites across the province!

The Premier’s commitment that an investigation and possible disciplinary action will be taken regarding this plagiarism incident is not sufficient, as this has undermined the validity of the policy development process.

I will be writing to the Premier to request that a full plagiarism audit be done across all provincial departments, and that the processes that resulted in this embarrassment be fully reviewed.

Additional checks and balances clearly need to be put in place, to prevent similar instances occurring in future.

The DA will follow the Premier’s investigation with keen interest, to ensure accountability. The individuals concerned deserve more than a slap on the wrist with a recycled promotion to another post.

We will also be waiting for the revised policy document, which, if written correctly, should cover all facets of technology management, including cost management, human capital management, hardware and risk management.