Seriti Institute welcomes the judgment handed down by the Pretoria High Court on the matter brought by us against the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs relating to the Community Work Programme (CWP).
Judge Selemang Mokose ruled that the current CWP procurement process is “constitutionally invalid and unlawful and it is reviewed and set aside.” The 11 contracts set aside are worth R13 billion.
“When justice prevails over corruption it surely is inspiring and motivating. The unlawful action of CoGTA officials is a huge detriment to CWP, a programme intended to empower local communities to create work and improve their quality of life,” says Seriti Institute CEO, Juanita Pardesi.
Judge Mokose also found Seriti Institute’s disqualification from the bidding process to be “unlawful and inconsistent with the tenets of the Constitution.”
Because of unfair, corrupt practices by CoGTA, Seriti Institute has had to let go of staff members and we nearly completely closed our doors. When we took the matter to court in 2018, financially we could not afford to do so but we felt it was important that we do. We did so not because we had lost out on a contract. We wanted to take a stand against corrupt practices that threatened the livelihoods of thousands of poor South African households, this is the reason we did not ask the court for any financial reimbursement. CWP employs over 260 000 South Africans from poor communities, many of whom have not had a job in many years, if ever. The programme is a big part of fighting poverty in our country and as Seriti Institute, we could not let those in power abuse it without being held to account.
Though we welcome the judgment it is a bittersweet victory as the same implementing agents that were appointed through this “invalid and unlawful” process will continue as implementing agents until March 2021. The fact that judgment in this matter was reserved for 10 months and it took one and a half years to get a court date has made it possible for these unlawful appointments to continue.
Seriti Institute is no longer part of CWP, but we continue to work in poor marginalised communities.
Whether it is fighting corrupt practices that ultimately steal from the poor, delivering food parcels to vulnerable households, supporting local food production, or facilitating education workshops for young children, Seriti Institute’s core mission will always be to bring change in poor South African communities. To this end, we will fight as much as we need to and work as hard as we can.
For more information contact
Juanita Pardesi, Seriti Institute CEO
082 907 5997