Don’t corrupt my people – Lindiwe Sisulu

2013-06-05 14:53

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The soon-to-be-established anticorruption bureau will target private sector players who lure public servants into “unholy alliances”, Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has warned.

Briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on public service and administration today, Sisulu said the bureau would be based on a model used by the Tanzanian government.

A presidential proclamation would be issued at the end of the month to disband the department’s special anticorruption unit and establish the new bureau.

It would eventually become a fully fledged agency under the Public Administration and Management (PAM) Bill, which was expected to be tabled in Parliament at the end of this month.

National, provincial, and local government departments would, under the new law, be able to refer big corruption cases to the bureau.

Sisulu said the establishment of a single anticorruption agency would, however, not encroach on the powers and independence of other spheres of government, but encourage them to refer corruption matters to the bureau.

“We’re not going to force ourselves on them ... local government doesn’t have the capacity to deal with corruption ... we have huge problems at this level (of government) and they don’t know what to do with them,” said Sisulu.

The bureau would start operating on an “incremental basis” and the department would not be using a “big bang approach”.

This was partly because the bureau needed to first prove itself to government and citizens.

When the bureau was up and running by July, it would operate on a R17 million budget, which MPs complained was miniscule, given the billions of rand stolen from public coffers or lost due to mismanagement.

“What we are wanting to do is actually measure what we will be saving the state and use that as a leverage to get the necessary resources,” Sisulu explained.

She would ask the National Treasury for more funding. The minister would also be talking to those in the private sector, which she blamed for the huge scale of corruption in government.

“I’m very concerned about the corrupters ... because only they have the financial muscle to corrupt my people,” she said.

If the PAM bill was enacted, companies involved in corruption would be blacklisted, and its employees found guilty of siphoning off public money could face jail time.

“We’re going to make sure there are mandatory sentences for all those people who were found to have corrupted our public servants,” said Sisulu.

The bureau would work with the Auditor-General and the Public Service Commission, and refer criminal cases to the relevant law-enforcement agencies.

Sisulu said the Hawks and the Special Investigating Unit had already seconded people to the bureau to help.

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