Media release

Government statement in response to CASAC

17 March 2011

17 March 2011

South Africa has never experienced any democracy until 1994 and no South African or any formation in our society can stand to claim monopoly to know more than all of us as South Africans. We are all learning and building this democracy together and that includes supporting, protecting and respecting all institutions of state we have established in promotion of our constitutional democracy. We call on all South Africans to contribute to this objective.

Government does acknowledge the need to fight corruption in our country. Government is also aware that corruption is a global problem that South Africa is not immune to. As government we have elevated the fight against crime and corruption as one of our 5 key priorities.

South Africa is signatory to a number of international protocols compelling the country to deal with corruption. This is in clear demonstration of government’s commitment to fighting corruption wherever it raises its ugly head.

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) was launched with the main aim of advancing our constitutional democracy. Government reiterates that it welcomes any initiative by any sector of our society to assist the country in the fight against corruption. Government will continue to protect and respect the institutions of our democratic state and have confidence in them to do their work.

Government rejects any insinuations that South Africa is nearing to be a dysfunctional state. Government believes that CASACs intentions are not that of trying to build a democracy we all live by. CASAC we believe understands and appreciates our constitutional democracy and know very well that they should report any allegations of corruption to the relevant institutions for investigation.

Unfortunately, some of the emotive language and remarks of the chairperson of CASAC does little to further the debate on how we can tackle corruption more effectively.
Over the past two years government has reinvigorated its efforts to deal more effectively with corruption.

Below we list some of the initiatives taken.

It identified dealing with crime and corruption as one of its top 5 priorities (April 2009)

The Minister of Finance set up the Multi-Agency Working Group on procurement to tighten up procurement systems, and eliminate abuse. (Aug 2009).

To date the following measures are being implemented:

  • Increasing monitoring capabilities to detect fraud at an early stage
  • More transparent public disclosure of tender processes
  • Centralisation of some procurement processes to enable better control
  • Heavy penalties of up to double the contract value for suppliers involved in tender fraud and
  • To recover losses from corruption from officials who are responsible

The President set up Inter-Ministerial Committee on corruption (Dec 2009) to ensure proper coordination of anti-corruption efforts (Dec 2009).

Specific and very ambitious targets were set for Justice, Crime, Prevention and Security cluster to ensure that those looting the state coffers are brought to book (April 2010).

The justice cluster must convict 100 persons in serious corruption matters where more than R5 million of illicit proceeds can be recovered.

In this year alone, 14 people have been arrested who have assets of more than R5 million. More than R260 million in assets have been frozen.

The President announced the Anti-Corruption Task Team to ensure that these targets are met (July 2010). It consists of the Hawks, the prosecutors and asset forfeiture lawyers in the NPA, and the Special Investigating Unit.

The Department of Public Service and Administration set up a Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Nov 2010) to ensure that effective disciplinary action is taken in important corruption cases.

To look at measures to prevent officials involved in fraud from remaining under suspension for long periods while under investigation.

The Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs is currently implementing a number of legal and other changes to prevent corruption in local government.

The President has also signed a number of proclamations authorizing the SIU to investigate suspected corruption in government departments and institutions.

We believe that we have come a long way in the last two years, but that there are still significant challenges in ensuring that we work together to fight corruption.

Although these initiatives have gone a long way in overcoming some of the fragmentation in our efforts to combat corruption, but we believe that more can be done to ensure better cooperation.

More needs to be done to build efficiencies to up-stream within the public sector to eliminate opportunities for corruption.

We still need to do more to educate public servants and our citizens about the evils of corruption, and to mobilise them against it.

Finally, we also need to engage more constructively and pro-actively with civil society and organised labour and business in this campaign.

Harold Maloka
Cell: 082 847 9799

Issued by: The Ministry for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation - The Presidency

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