Leaders should get lifestyle audits: Vavi

2011-12-08 22:49
Johannesburg - Political leaders should undergo lifestyle audits to clear suspicions about their wealth, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

"[This is so] we leave no doubt in the minds of our people who are increasingly suspicious of everybody that seems to be driving a better car ..." he told delegates at an anti-corruption summit in Johannesburg.

Vavi welcomed lifestyle audits being carried out by the SA Revenue Service into the sources of wealth of some individuals.

Among those being investigated is suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

"We are happy that SARS is investigating those suspected of dodging their tax responsibilities or who have wealth that they can't explain," Vavi said.

"These are valuable weapons needed to identify and prosecute those involved in corruption."

Corruption had become endemic in South Africa and the misappropriation of state resources had reached alarming proportions, the unionist told his audience.

SA facing a nightmare

Delegates heard that government departments were not enforcing laws and officials were exploiting gaps in the system to win government tenders.

"Public servants are supposed to be caring for the public but instead they are caring for their own narrow financial interests," said Vavi.

"We are facing a nightmare, a nightmare future for South Africa which is up for auction to the highest bidder."

Vavi said factions were being formed, not for ideologies or political views, but for access to government power.

"Honest and talented individuals who cannot play this dirty game of survival of the fittest get sidelined."

The summit heard that South Africa could not defeat corruption and abuse of power with weak organisations.

It needed a strong, vibrant and active ruling African National Congress along with independent state institutions.

It also needed a diversified, robust, pro-poor and religious media.

Vavi said the protection of state information bill would deter whistleblowers from reporting crimes, making it easier to conceal corruption in the government.

Elite stealing from poor

Those reporting corruption faced jail time, while those committing it would "roam the streets".

Vavi, who was recently appointed a board member of the parastatal Industrial Development Corporation, expressed support for the establishment of an anti-corruption task team by President Jacob Zuma into expensive hotel stays by ministers and government officials.

He told delegates that tender processes needed to be transparent and that public servants needed to be held accountable for wrongdoing.

Corruption was the elite's way of stealing from the poor, said Vavi.

"It has become a matter of life and death. Corruption is the biggest threat to the realisation of our dreams... Self-enrichment will unravel the fabric of society."

If the current economic system of capitalism continued with the "me first" mentality, it would be difficult to root out corruption, he said.

Earlier, National Anti-Corruption Forum chairperson Futhi Mtoba said 1 273 public service officials were charged with misconduct for corrupt activities between September 2004 and June 2011.

During this time, 603 officials were dismissed from the public service, 226 were suspended, 134 were fined and 16 demoted. Another 330 officials were given final written warnings and 190 prosecuted.
Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  idc  |  sars  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  service delivery  |  tenders  |  corruption

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.