"Both public officials and private companies must be made to know and feel that corruption does not pay through quick disciplinary hearings; blacklisting for future employment and asserts forfeitures"
The United Nations (UN) has declared December 09 international day against corruption. On this day the world gathers to recommit itself to the fight against corruption, review progress and also share new strategies on how to stop corruption in both private and public sector.
The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Lindiwe Sisulu see the 2012 International Anti-Corruption Day as a platform for the South African Government and its people to not only renew their commitment to fight corruption in the public sector and private sector but also to introduce new strategies and tough measures to prevent corruption at all levels of Government.
"The poorest of the poor are victims of corruption everyday as service delivery is compromised, all South Africans must unite against fraud and corruption" Sisulu said.
The Minister is highly concern about cases of corruption, fraud, maladministration and unethical behaviour involving public servants as they collude with private sector companies and individuals to defraud the state and all South Africans.
The Minister has instructed that a new strategy "with very strong teeth" to fight corruption must be completed by end of the financial year, key to this new strategy is the use of modern technology and intelligent financial systems to prevent corruption and maladministration; effective and speedy finalisation of disciplinary cases and most importantly that officials found guilty of corruption and fraud are dealt with through asserts forfeitures, dismissal from work and blacklisting for future employment opportunities in both private and public sector.
The Minister has instructed that the following measures be introduced immediately to enhance existing corruption fighting measures:
That a new Anti-Corruption Unit led by a Deputy Director General located in the Department of Public Service and Administration with legislative powers to proactively investigate cases in all three spheres of Government is introduced.
Legislation and regulations be developed to give the new unit enough powers to investigate; charge and discipline officials. The unit will employ forensic auditors, specialist investigators and prosecutors to initiate charges.
A new National Disciplinary Unit is located in the Department of Public Service and Administration to monitor all disciplinary cases across all levels of Government to ensure that cases are investigated, officials are charged and hearings completed at the shortest time possible. The Unit must have skills and capacity to investigate officials at all levels of Government and to initiate charges against any public servants. The Unit must also keep a database of public servants found guilty and blacklist them to ensure that they are not employed by another Department and private companies.
Government must conduct random and regular life style audits and financial status audits for those involved in managing public funds and all officials involved in tender management.
That an electronic private interest disclosure system (e-disclosure) is implemented by March 30, 2013 for all public servants in National, Provincial and Local spheres with priorities being all senior managers, middle managers and those involved in tenders and financial management. This will ensure an effective and pro-active management of possible financial conflict of interest between those who manage tenders and private companies.
The new system will enable Government to proactively verify business interest of all employees with CIPC formerly CIPRO which registers all private companies, deeds office and e-natis where vehicles are registered. This will also enable Director Generals to easily verify financial interest of officials who adjudicate and evaluate tenders. Government will now know proactively financial interests of all official. The current system is manual and reactive.
A national mass media campaign to educate and inform members of the public and private companies of their right to access to service and new platforms to report allegations of fraud and corruption will be launch in January 2013. The Batho Pele Call Centre is also to be re-launched to support the current Anti-Fraud Hotline in ensuring that members of the public also report deliberate delays to render services by officials. Research has shown that at times officials delay payment and service whilst soliciting bribes.
The finalisation of service delivery timeframes and standards will also assist to ensure that members of the public know for how long they must wait for service and what steps to take when there is a deliberate delay. The Minister added that members of the public must also play their role in reporting low quality of service from companies appointed by Government and public officials.
"Fighting corruption requires the participation of all South Africans; we must report bad service from officials. We must report low quality of work from contractors and attempts to solicit bribes" She said.
"A strong and unambiguous message must be sent to public servants that corruption and fraud does not pay and action must be taken against officials involved in corruption, the same must be said to private companies and individuals, they must also know that there are no benefits from corrupt activities." She said.
The Minister committed that the School of Government to be opened in 2013 will also develop a dedicated curriculum to groom ethical and committed public servants whose only interest is serving the poor. "We seek a public servant who love serving the people, who feel privileged and honoured to be given a responsibility to improve the lives of his/her fellow citizens, not interested in fraud and corruption.
The School of Government must produce those cadres who will be our soldiers against maladministration, fraud, corruption and unethical behaviour" She concluded.