Radebe threatens jail time

2010-11-18 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG was chosen as the venue for the launch of an anti-fraud and corruption campaign because the national Justice and Constitutional Development department has been “inundated with matters of corruption and abuse of power” in the city’s High Court Master’s Office.

Justice, crime prevention and security cluster convener and Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe said this during the launch of the campaign at a function held at KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize’s offices in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

“My office had been inundated with requests for intervention at the Master’s office here in Pietermaritzburg,” the minister said.

“We have a list of cases, some finalised and some pending, on matters of corruption and abuse of power against ordinary employees by their supervisors or managers…”

His deputy, Andries Nel, confirmed earlier that there were corruption-related complaints received from the Master’s Office.

Radebe continued: “Our presence here in Pietermaritzburg demonstrates our seriousness on the declaration that the days of those living on the proceeds of crime and corruption are over. Those responsible will surely land in jail as we have the means, capacity and the will to ensure that this is done …”

Radebe also announced the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) “to monitor the investigation and prosecution of all cases of corruption identified as high priority”.

Among other institutions, ACTT will be made up of members of the Hawks, the National Prosecution Authority (NPA), the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU).

“As government, we are aware of the dire consequences of fraud and corruption in the country’s economy, service delivery and social security. We therefore seek to inculcate a culture which is ethically driven and intolerant of fraud and corruption.”

Radebe said other government ­anti-corruption strategies include the establishment of the inter-ministerial committee on corruption, chaired by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, and the National Treasury’s procurement fraud group, called the Multi-Agency Working Group and comprising the SA Revenue Service, the Financial Investigation Centre, the SIU, the Hawks and the NPA.

All these structures will be guided by a comprehensive government strategy that is being consolidated to deal effectively with fraud and corruption in the public service.

Radebe said that as part of the campaign to root out corruption, convicted fraudsters’ names will be published and they will be blacklisted — both within the government and the private sector — to prevent them from being employed anywhere in the country.

The launch of the campaign comes against the background of the release of a Corruption Perception Index report that indicated that of 178 countries surveyed, where the least corrupt country is ranked highest, SA was ranked 58th in the world and fifth in Africa.

“As part of the way forward on corruption, we will ensure that our corruption combating strategy gives us early warnings on corruption so that corrupt elements can be nipped in the bud,” the minister said.

“Those found wanting on corruption must have their identities published not just to shame them, but to ensure that they do not become repeat offenders …”

National Director of Public Prosecutions Menzi Simelane warned government officials and public servants that the fight against corruption will lead to the prosecution of officials who, through their “mismanagement and incompetency”, allow corruption to flourish.

“Corruption is an intentional attack on the system of government and its integrity and must be dealt with through law enforcement only. But do not be surprised when you are charged for being an accomplice due to your failure to act appropriately…” Simelane said.

He appealed to government officials to seek to be capacitated through training and other means in order to avoid being charged as accomplices owing to their incompetency or mismanagement.

The launch was concluded with the signing of the anti-fraud and corruption pledge by Radebe, Mkhize, Justice and Constitutional Development Director-General Nonkululeko Msomi and the heads of the AFU, NPA and Hawks, among others.

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