Gordhan: Zero tolerance for corruption

2010-08-06 00:00

FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan called on South African political parties to stop using fraud and corruption as a “political football” and instead rally behind an anti-corruption campaign.

Gordhan was addressing the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on the socio-economic situation in the country and globally during its sitting in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

In his address, Gordhan described fraud and corruption, especially in government procurement, “as a national disease, especially procurement corruption.”

“We would have spent our time and energy well if the public get to know that all political parties in this house support an anti-corruption campaign … We want procurement to work better and [people] want value for their money, for taxpayers rands.”

He acknowledged that political will is a key factor if government wants to uproot fraud and corruption.

“Let us get South Africa to play a new game, an anti-corruption game. Taxpayers must also get involved as it is their money that gets wasted” Gordhan said.

However, he lamented the fact that more people were being employed in administrative positions instead of in frontline professions like nursing and teaching, and called for a decrease in this trend.

KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize and his provincial government received praise especially with regard to its provincial recovery plan which Gordhan described as the “boldest and [most] unique” in the country.

He said the province could provide leadership to other provinces and the country at large when it comes to its control of capital expenditure.

In the wake of the recession, the province’s cost-cutting measures that had helped significantly to reduce its anticipated over-expenditure from R5,6 billion to R1,7billion, was also praised: “The whole country needs to emulate KZN’s cost-cutting measures. We are very encouraged by these measures …” Gordhan said.

He also called on the province to ensure that it properly manages its provincial budget and that it gets better value for money. Public sector trade unions also came under heavy criticism from Gordhan for demanding high percentages for wage increases to the detriment of the provision of key services like health, education, job opportunities and infrastructure to the communities.

Gordhan described his visit to the province as part of a nationwide campaign to interact with provincial governments on financial matters and to get to know the challenges they are facing at their level.

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