Govt cracks the whip on corrupt officials

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pretoria - Government departments comprising the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster have declared war on corruption and have kicked off the battle by weeding out corrupt elements within their own ranks.

"The Cluster has intensified its efforts to root out corruption within its own departments. As a result, a total of 362 cases were investigated and 291 arrests were made - 167 [were] public officials and 124 members of the public," said Justice Minister Jeff Radebe during a JCPS Cluster briefing on Tuesday.

Those implicated in the investigations have appeared in court and 155 convictions have been secured so far, the minister added.

During the last financial year, President Jacob Zuma issued at least 18 proclamations - the most ever in the history of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) - authorising the SIU to conduct investigations, Radebe said.

Most of the investigations focused on procurement related irregularities. For the first time, investigations included cases in two Metropolitan Municipalities - Tshwane and Ekurhuleni - as well as the SABC.

Other major investigations were conducted into the procurement of accommodation by the Department of Public Works; the procurement department of SAPS; the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and a number of municipalities in the Western Cape.

Radebe also singled out the broadening of the investigation into contracts for low cost housing and the on-going investigation into social grant irregularities.

The Anti-Corruption Task Team has also made significant progress in fighting corruption, Radebe noted.

"...Joint operations have commenced. In this regard, 116 accused persons are appearing in court relating to 42 cases, with R579 million assets restrained in total. Of the 116 accused, only 19 have assets more than R5 million, with restraints in place," he said.

The minister said government was aware that South Africans were concerned about the high levels of corruption in society.

"We recognise that corruption holds the potential to erode all the gains made in our hard earned democracy and [we] commit to find sustainable solutions to quell these acts of criminality," he added.

Radebe also noted significant progress in efforts to reduce the levels of crime, citing the crime statistics released last year, which indicated a decrease in murders, as well as other crimes.

These successes were achieved largely through co-ordinated cluster efforts, which included improving conviction rates, he said.

However, the minister also acknowledged that the fight against crime was being thwarted by the recent increase in police killings. 

During the period under review - April to August 2011 - 56 police officers were killed.
Following a recent summit on police killings, a Multi-Disciplinary Committee had been formed to effectively manage the investigations into the killings and counsel the affected families, he noted. - BuaNews