Government determined to uproot corruption without fear: Mchunu

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Public Service and Administration Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has reiterated government’s commitment to fighting corruption without fear or favour.

Mchunu said lack of integrity has put millions of people under the shadow of poverty, while some loot the State’s coffers.

“This is at the expense of those who otherwise deserve the use of the resources for their betterment,” the Minister said on Wednesday.

Mchunu was delivering his address at the commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day, observed annually in recognition of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, to which South Africa is a signatory.  

The Public Service Commission led the discussion, in partnership with the United Nations in South Africa and the University of South Africa.

“This is a very important day where we really have to recommit ourselves to fighting [corruption], not just because we’re called by the United Nations or by our government but as individuals,” Mchunu said.  

The Minister also made a firm commitment to align South Africa’s domestic laws and policies on corruption to international standards and instruments.

He said every government in the world needs to fight corruption and also prevent it.

“There will always be people who want to corrupt and expropriate certain resources for their own personal benefits and aggrandisement at the expense of other people, and this is greed.

“It’s also a sin in the Bible and also a sin we commit in the glare of the public… It’s a criminal offence for which governments need to garner part of their resources to ensure they prevent… [to stop] those amongst us who want to be greedy.”

Mchunu believes that arresting the corrupt is not enough. However, he is also advocating for the recovery of stolen assets, as the effects of corruption are devastating.  

“Not only does it rob our country of the necessary resources for development, but it further violates the Constitutional rights of all citizens of the country, leaving them with little or no resources for a better life.”  

Mchunu said it also counters government’s efforts to deliver on its promises to the people.

The Minister spoke against officials who use their position of trust “to extend their ugly hands to the resources of those who are poor”.

“Not only do their actions cast government in a bad light, but they diminish hope for a better South Africa.”

He said government is striving to put the needs of South Africans first at all times, and only wants public servants who will dutifully serve the public.

“Those who continue to contravene the law will have to be brought to book without delay and any fear or favour,” he stressed.

Mchunu reminded public servants of one of the National Development Plan’s goals, which is to live in a corrupt-free country, with an accountable government.

The public must report corruption

Meanwhile, Mchunu said Ministers and individual public servants must independently account for their actions, omissions and commissions.

“Gone are the days when the public must fear and get silenced by those who are corrupt.”  

He urged citizens to inform authorities of any misconduct, as well as non-government organisations to come forward to report any malfeasance.

Mchunu said dealing with graft is one of government’s key priorities, which is evident in Cabinet’s approval of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

The strategy will aid the country by providing an intervention framework to coordinate their plans against fraud and corruption. 

He informed delegates that there is political will to publicly denounce and deal with corruption, and has encouraged law enforcement agencies, especially the heads, to fear nothing.

“Go directly to criminals, go directly to corrupt people and deal with them. Government is solidly behind you and there’s no doubt about it.”

Professionalism

Meanwhile, government said it is advancing the professionalisation of public servants.

Mchunu said government employees should be professional, ethical, productive and innovative.

“Those values are very important in ensuring the integrity of the public service.”  

The National School of Government is currently offering compulsory courses, such as Ethics in the Public Service, aimed at improving the public service.

Mchunu said the State is determined to gain public trust and make the public service an employer of choice.

He acknowledged that there is a trust deficit, which government is working on to regain credibility and legitimacy.

“We must be seen as legitimate and we must start earning it now. Public servants must assist government to earn that credibility and trust which we… have lost.”– SAnews.gov.za

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