DA: Anti-graft team launch is lip service

2012-05-24 22:33

Johannesburg - North West Premier Thandi Modise's announcement that a special task team would be established to expedite corruption cases should be viewed with caution, the DA said on Thursday.

Modise said in her budget speech that the team would be led by the director general in her office.

It would consist of forensic management and misconduct, labour relations, and legal services officials who would report quarterly to the provincial executive committee.

"Every single NW premier has announced new initiatives against fraud and corruption including several 'fraud hot-lines' during state of the province addresses and budget debates," Democratic Alliance provincial leader Chris Hattingh said in a statement.

"Not a single anti-corruption hot-line is functional in the North West."

No reports about cases had been tabled in the provincial legislature even though 43 investigations into North West government departments had been commissioned in the past three years, he said.

"The secretive perpetuation of fraud and corruption continues to be the best guarded secret of the North West Provincial Government," said Hattingh.

The increase in cases of fraud and corruption in North West and the lack of transparency coincided with the North West anti-corruption unit being moved from the treasury to the premier's office, he said.

Hattingh cited a March report from the Public Service Commission (PSC) which stated that only one assistant director, with a year's experience, in the security services directorate had been assigned to handle corruption cases.

"It is therefore mind-boggling that the premier intends to appoint a special task team to do what the forensic unit situated in her office failed to do," he said.

The PSC report also stated the North West was the worst performing provincial government on the evaluated transparency principle, receiving 21%.

Hattingh said the anti-corruption unit should be separated from the premier's office and should report to an independent forum free from political interference.

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