Moral issue

2008-04-26 00:00

Commenting on the suspended fines imposed on the housing cheats in the provincial service, Housing MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu has stated that “the court has sent the strongest message that those who engage in fraudulent activities will not escape the long arm of the law”. That the law has caught up with these people is undeniable, but whether their punishment sends out the right message can be questioned. Similarly debatable is the reaction of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), which found extenuating circumstances in the general problems with housing provision, which is a legacy of the past.

However, while the housing problems may be a legacy of apartheid, the regulations governing the allocation of government housing are not and there is no reason to exonerate people who now breach them. Nor are these isolated offences: some 31 000 civil servants country wide are under investigation for housing fraud.

That number may not affect individual culpability, but it underscores the extent of the problem. Large numbers of people in government employment, responsible for such services as education and health, are corrupt, willing to lie and cheat in order to serve their own interests. Their punishment — a suspended fine which may never actually be imposed provided they now pay for the houses in the normal way — is really little more than a slap on the wrist. They will keep both their jobs and their ill-gotten houses. As with the treatment of Parliament’s Travelgate fraudsters, it is very doubtful indeed whether such derisory punishment will serve as a salutary

lesson to people at large.

Join the conversation! 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. 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

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 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.