Premier talks tough on corruption

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pretoria – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu has warned that the provincial government will deal firmly with those who fraudulently issue tenders and contracts to underserving companies with no proof of quality and capacity to perform.

“Government can only be effective in delivering on the needs of our people if it is served by professional, dedicated and loyal officials who take pride in their work and are committed to eradicate all forms of corruption,” said Premier Mchunu.

Delivering the State of the Province Address in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, Premier Mchunu said investigations by the provincial Treasury’s internal audit unit had resulted in about 106 cases being sent for criminal investigations. About 116 cases are still being investigated.

He said a total of 57 disciplinary actions were recommended and 73 cases were handed over to the South African Police Service and the Hawks. Ten of these matters were currently before court.

“We can also confirm that there are another 28 cases that have been completed by the SAPS, wherein 33 public servants and five private persons were convicted. The amount involved was more than R41.9 million and convictions were issued to the tune of R12.9 million.

“A total of 15 out of the 33 convictions against the public servants were finalised between April and October 2016,” Premier Mchunu said.

He acknowledged there are still officials who are not interested in serving members of the public, but who are constantly looking for opportunities to serve themselves.

The provincial government has fully implemented the latest amendment to the Public Service Regulations, promulgated specifically to curb fraud and corruption.

This should be a warning that officials who do not abide by these rules will be dealt with ruthlessly.

“We undertake to strengthen the implementation of the ‘I DO RIGHT’ campaign in the public service to promote ethical standards. We will re-introduce measures in the public service that were once presented by the late Professor Bonganjalo Goba that seeks to ensure that we reverse the prevailing culture in which corruption is viewed as permissible in the public service.”

He urged the private sector to cooperate with them in order to turn around the situation. “The private sector must assist by not offering bribes to state employees involved in procurement processes.”

Use of consultants

Meanwhile, Premier Mchunu said the provincial government has resolved to keep a careful eye on the appointment and use of consultants to ensure that it gets value for money and where feasible, eliminate it altogether.

“As much as we recognise the need for specialist service providers and we do understand that some skills are not easy to insource, we have also noted an over reliance on external service providers and consultants in some departments,” he said.

Improving effective and efficient governance

The Premier said although significant progress has been made in improving effective and efficient governance in state institutions, the provincial governance is still facing deep routed challenges.

“We are not impressed with the overall state of provincial governance as reported on in the annual audit outcomes, as well as the outcomes of the annual Management Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) assessment results.

“Only one provincial department received a clean audit in the 2015/16 financial year, while 11 received unqualified audits.

“This is a clear indication that there is much room for improvement in improving effective and efficient governance in state institutions.”

Premier Mchunu said heads of departments have been warned by the Provincial Executive Council that there will be punitive actions for any non-compliance with legislation or procedures. –

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