Mthethwa warns corrupt officials
Durban - Corrupt municipal officials will be caught because the law enforcement agencies are ready to deal with graft, acting local government minister Nathi Mthethwa warned on Tuesday.
"We would like to warn those who are involved in corruption and those who are planning to get involved that they will be caught," said Mthethwa.
He was speaking during the first day of the SA Local Government Association (Salga) conference at Durban's Inkosi Albert Luthuli convention centre.
Mthethwa, who is also Minister of Police, urged councillors to fight corruption without fear, saying the police were more than ready to arrest the culprits.
Mthethwa told delegates it was an undeniable truth that some municipalities faced problems of corruption, weak financial management and weak ability to deliver services.
The cost of corruption was huge on poor people and would have disastrous consequences if it was not addressed.
"The public rating of councils is very low. We can't just ignore such perceptions. We need to work together to strengthen the capacity of our municipalities so that they can deliver," he said.
According to the pamphlets distributed at the conference, corruption in the public sector, local government and the private sector risks failure in the delivery of services and compromises relations between citizens and the state.
It was important that municipalities performed maximally because they were at the coalface of service delivery, he said.
"We need to make a sphere of local government a pleasant one. It is a sphere where a person [councillor] has to be a minister of everything. When people are angry, they direct their anger at them [councillors]," he said.
eThekwini municipality mayor, James Nxumalo, said it was important for Salga to coach struggling municipalities.
"Improving the capacity of municipalities is very important because people are becoming impatient."
Delegates were also expected to be addressed by planning minister Trevor Manuel on Tuesday.
New Salga leaders were expected to be elected during the conference.