Jacob Zuma especially committed to fighting corruption – Jeff Radebe

2014-09-10 16:35

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The government has kick-started its new information and publicity committee today by championing president Jacob Zuma’s commitment to root out corruption in state institutions.

During a media briefing to unveil the new Interministerial Committee on Information and Publicity, chairperson Jeff Radebe announced that Zuma had, in the past five years, signed 36 proclamations with five extensions, authorising the Special Investigating Unit to probe departments and state-owned enterprises.

“This effort is a clear demonstration by the government, particularly President Zuma, in rooting out corruption. This gives effect to the government’s commitment to deal with corruption as a priority,” said Radebe, who is minister in the presidency.

Since 2009, nine Special Investigating Unit reports have been completed and submitted to the presidency, and 27 investigations are still ongoing.

The investigations had led to the recovery of millions of rands, the referral of many officials to the National Prosecuting Authority, disciplinary action and dismissals

The government’s anticorruption task team had also “made great strides”, said Radebe, and targets had been exceeded. For example, 548 allegations of serious corruption – where the amount involved is more than R5 million – were recorded by the end of March against a target of 300. A total of 828 people are currently under criminal or forensic investigation for serious corruption, he said.

Radebe admitted during question time that the government’s efforts to stop the “revolving door” for corrupt public servants needed to be tightened.

“Officials are fired in one province, then emerge in another because the systems within the state are not talking to one another. We are finalising this to ensure the systems speak to one another.”

When asked whether anticorruption initiatives could be undermined by a perception that the president was failing to act decisively on findings relating to public spending at his Nkandla home, Radebe said: “Perceptions are perceptions. I am not aware that the president or anyone is dodging. No one is above the law. We work in accordance with laws that Parliament has promulgated.”

The Special Investigating Unit, the Public Protector and an interministerial task team have all conducted investigations into Nkandla spending. The findings – and the response by Zuma to the Public Protector’s report – are now being considered by a parliamentary ad hoc committee.

» Amid questions about the role of the new information committee, Radebe said it consisted mostly of ministers and had a mandate to inform South Africans about government programmes. He said it did not overlap with the work of the Government Communication and Information System or the work being done by new Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who is a member of the committee.

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