Call for select task team to probe corruption in KZN

2009-11-20 00:00

FRAUD and corruption cases involving civil servants referred to the police take so long that the public believe nothing is being done and that the culprits are going unpunished.

The Democratic Alliance has called for the creation of a cabinet committee, or task team, dedicated to investigating fraud and corruption in the province. This will be in line with a national initiative recently announced by President Jacob Zuma.

The call was made during a debate on Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) resolutions in the Legislature yesterday.

Jo-Anne Downs (ACDP) proposed that there should be police seconded to deal with government cases. Scopa chairman Mike Tarr agreed that a system along the lines proposed nationally should be adopted by the province. “When cases go to the police nothing happens and there is no follow up or direct link to find out what is happening,” Tarr said.

DA caucus leader John Steenhuisen suggested that the proposed task team have the ability to conduct forensic audits and investigations and initiate lifestyle probes where necessary. He said he is aware of a case where a civil servant bought a farm for over R10 million and was able to pay this off in a couple of months. How is this possible? he asked.

“There are far too many instances where KZN public servants are living lifestyles that are clearly beyond their means. There are officials within the system who have acquired substantial property portfolios and are generally living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. This is on a supposedly fixed civil servant’s salary — with no other business interests having been declared,” Steenhuisen added.

Tarr said another area being neglected is that of civil action and recouping stolen government funds.

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