Bad govt ‘costs more than crime’

2013-06-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The price that the public is paying for maladministration is higher than the impact of crime, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said yesterday.

She was speaking at a meeting where she opened the first leg of a national dialogue on public service, poverty and the country’s progress in achieving its millennium aims.

These aims include halving poverty in SA by 2015 and improving health.

Madonsela referred to a case of a pupil from a very poor family who received a bursary from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He could not get his matric results because someone had cloned his identity number, officials of the Department of Basic Education told him.

Madonsela said the pupil then had to struggle for five years with the Department of Home Affairs to get his identity document rectified.

She said her office became involved during the last two years so that he could get his ID document. It then took another two years to get his matric results. She said the young man could only start his tertiary studies seven years after he wrote matric, and she wondered if it had to take this long — or whether it all boiled down to indifference among civil servants to service delivery.

She said she could go on about schools without classrooms, desks, laboratory equipment, computers or text books, “because money is spent on unplanned and costly projects”.

She said eradicating maladministration, like poor service delivery and corruption, would make a difference to poverty in SA.

Madonsela referred to former president Nelson Mandela’s speeches, in which he had urged that future generations should never be able to say that indifference, cynicism and selfishness had made SA fail in living out the humanity that is represented in the Nobel Peace prize.

According to the special investigation unit’s figures, corrupt public servants annually cost the country some R30 billion.

Madonsela has repeatedly said that maladministration in the public service had its origins in unethical leadership.

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