Fighting corruption remains a priority - Oliphant

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pretoria - Acting Public Service and Administration Minister Mildred Oliphant today told Parliament that the department would be intensifying the capacity of the Public Service Anti-Corruption Unit (PSACU).

This was in line with the department's priority of fighting corruption within government.

The PSACU, launched in November 2010, investigates officials with undeclared business interests, officials doing business with government without disclosing their business interests; officials performing remunerative work outside the public service without permission and officials who solicit and/or receive bribes in return for performing or not performing official duties as well as those receiving grants or benefits unlawfully.

Delivering the department's Budget Vote on Tuesday, Oliphant said: "In contributing towards this priority [of fighting corruption], the PSACU, located within the DPSA, conducted joint investigations with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on high level corruption-related cases.

"Having completed its first year of existence, the ministry expects the unit to gain more capacity and to intensify its work in the fight against corruption."

Oliphant said in order to tackle corruption effectively, a number of interventions were introduced and implemented by the department.

Some of the measures to be taken to build anti-corruption capacity in the public service and its administration over the 2012 Medium-term Expenditure Framework include reinforcing anti-corruption capacity in national and provincial departments through the training of 200 anti-corruption practitioners by Palama; fast-tracking the reduction of backlogs on corruption-related disciplinary cases, with special focus on payroll and procurement processes, implementation of the Public Sector Integrity Management Framework and improving the corruption perception index from position 55 out of 180 countries to 40 out of 180 countries or lower.

"The National Anti-Corruption Hotline has, since its inception, resulted in 1 499 public servants being charged with misconduct, 603 of whom were dismissed from the public service. An amount of R120 million was also recovered," said the acting minister.

The ministry, through the Public Service Commission (PSC), was now working together with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to ensure that departments provided timely feedback on the cases of alleged corruption that have been referred to them through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline

The PSC has concluded 366 investigations into allegations of maladministration and corruption. According to Oliphant, the PSC continued its involvement in the management of conflicts of interest through the Financial Disclosure Framework (FDF) in the public service.

"As at March 2012, the compliance rate for the submission of FDF forms by SMS members for the 2010/11 financial year was 94%," said Oliphant, adding that all senior managers had to by 31 May disclose their financial interests.