Dept determined to stamp out corruption

Monday, February 9, 2009

Parliament - The Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sicelo Shiceka says the corruption which has manifested itself in officials receiving kick-backs during tender processes, must be "sniffed out".

Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on President Kgalema Motlanthe's State of the Nation Address on Monday, the minister said corruption has eroded the confidence that people have of councillors and municipalities.

"Corruption has crippled many municipalities, and brought some to their knees. Municipalities which are infested with corrupt elements and have become almost dysfunctional require intervention."

Further describing corruption as tantamount to sabotage, the minister said the department had developed systems and put structures in place to deal with it.

"Our MEC's have invoked Section 139 [which is the taking over a municipality by national government] to bring back stability, and to ensure that the municipalities continue to provide services," the minister said.

In the Eastern Cape, government has intervened in the Mnquma Municipality using Section 139. There are also four other municipalities where the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DLPG) are going to invoke Section 139 if no improvement takes place.

In the Free State, Mr Shiceka said, there are two municipalities under administration, while government is investigating the issue of the Ngaka Modiri Molema Municipality in the North West province.

"Government will continue to take action against the new breed of parasitic bourgeoisie which is corrupt, abusing tender processes, and colluding with corrupt officials to loot the limited state resources," Mr Shiceka said.

He further warned that any local government employee or councillor who is found to be corrupt will be dealt with accordingly.

"Our people are tired of these parasites who keep on sucking the resources of the state, through corrupt practices. Corruption will not be tolerated and those officials found to be involved in corrupt activities will stand to be arrested, could lose their properties, and can be charged and imprisoned for longer terms.

"We will make sure that they pay for their sins of corrupting the municipalities and robbing the state and the poor of its property."

He urged all South Africans, to come forward and expose corrupt officials.

Commenting on his department's achievements in 2008, Mr Shiceka said they were able to provide access to basic water supply to 88 percent of households and were now providing access to basic sanitation to 73 percent of households.

While electricity connections to households have dropped to 157 000, government has been able to provide access to electricity to 72 percent of the households.

Government has ensured that 876 schools are electrified while over one million housing units are delivered to communities. "While we have delivered, there remain challenges such as capacity problems and financial limitations."