Corruption is cancerous - Motlanthe

2011-08-18 09:22

Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe says South Africa might need to consider introducing subjects related to ethics in schools to curb the scourge of corruption, according to a report in The Times on Thursday.

Speaking at the annual Ruth First Memorial Lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand on Wednesday, Motlanthe said corruption was "cancerous".

"The pestilence of corruption menacing the soul of our democracy is a life-and-death matter on which our future depends."

He said that everyone, including political leaders, needed to work together to eliminate it.

He said effective laws alone could not win the war against corruption.

"We may need to begin exploring creative ways of introducing subjects related to ethics into our school curriculum very early in the development of the learner."


The lecture marked the 29th anniversary of the death of Ruth First, the anti-apartheid activist who was killed by a letter bomb in Mozambique in 1982.

Without referring directly to the protection of information bill, Motlanthe said the country must commit to never betray First's vision of "a South Africa where freedom of expression is as essential as the air we breathe".

He also said the government should be willing to accept criticism by patriotic South Africans.

"Accepting criticism and conceding to our errors without imputing evil motives to those committed South Africans who point out our mistakes with the best interests of our nation at heart should be as normal as voting for any party we choose."

  • Vullis - 2011-08-18 09:27

    Tell that to Zuma!!

      Mr_Mind - 2011-08-18 09:33

      I don't quite get why we have the suspiciously acquitted corruption accused uselessness be our president while we have Motlanthe... He's obviously proper president material!

      Jay - 2011-08-18 09:36

      I dig this guy, think he would make a much better Prez!

      Green Oaks - 2011-08-18 09:39

      Never a truer word spoken !!!!

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 09:40

      No ways. Motlanthe and his gilrfriend hve looted the Sishen mine and he has kept quiet about it and kept the girlfriend too. Don't be fooled by the silent diplomacy. He also reakes of corruption.

      JM - 2011-08-18 09:42

      Yes corruption is a cancer! Now do something about it! You don’t need to introduce new school subjects. Simply punish those that are caught by firing them, recovering the money, shaming them publically & sending them to prison. It’s not rocket science. Start by acting swiftly against those identified by the public protector. Act decisively on those that were involved with the arms deal. Act on Malema – the evidence is there. Hell, you have all the opportunity to put your words into action. By not acting this is just hot air and you are just as guilty as those that are committing these corrupt acts.

      Grant - 2011-08-18 09:42

      Kgalema Motlanthe talks a lot of good, common sense. His speeches are often highly conciliatory, however, the position that the ancyl has taken with regard to him succeeding Zuma as head of the ANC (given the ancyl stance on many matters) tends to negate all of this. They are only going to support a man who they see as not only capable of, but sympathetic to and willing to advance their own agenda.

      Vullis - 2011-08-18 09:43

      @jay - he sides with Malema - you wanna vote for him? go ahead

      boerekanon - 2011-08-18 09:47

      Yes, we have heard this all before blah, less talk more action, and let us start rooting out these corrupt individuals in GOVERNMENT first.

      Uthando - 2011-08-18 10:04

      Motlanthe is speaking the truth, be it he;s also corrupt or not. However, he needs to align these kind of statements with the right occasion - like the ANCYL rallies.

      saabnut - 2011-08-18 10:32

      And gravy is addictive

      Lovenergy - 2011-08-18 10:36

      @Mandla Sithole, I have been following you for a while on this site and I have only one thing to say...Mandla for President!

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-18 10:48

      saabnut, man i did two yrs in noupoort for gravy abuse

      Slo0th - 2011-08-18 11:01

      We need a top-down approach, NOT a bottom-up approach. Sort government out first, then look at teaching the youth.

      Netherlands - 2011-08-18 11:25


      John Smith - 2011-08-18 12:10

      In news from parliament today President Zille announced that the public protectors office would be closing next month as not one single case of corruption, maladministration or misuse of public funds had been forwarded to their office in the past 3 years. When asked for comment on the state of health of ex president Zuma, currently serving 645 years hard labour having been convicted of 700 counts of fraud correuption and money laundering, she said "he is complaining of a very sore bottom"

      SOMEONE123 - 2011-08-18 12:13

      This is like having a sign at the gate that says - beware of the dogs - and a little poodle making soft noises - to keep the boss happy. Stop making noise and get the big dog to bite the bastards!

      Rob Gunning - 2011-08-18 14:26

      Thanks for the insight Mandla!!!

      Betterworld - 2011-08-18 17:19

      This should be taught at home too!

  • samaritan - 2011-08-18 09:30

    talk is os cheap

      samaritan - 2011-08-18 09:33


      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-08-18 12:10

      Also it's coming from Malema's new benefactor... And why introduce it into schools? Why not fire all the ministers found guilty of corruption immediately... Cele / Shiceka / and EVERYONE who Madonsela has pointed out... Plus Zuma himself needs to come out and explain the ARMS deal.. Like you say.. TALK IS CHEAP. AND THEY ARE RICH - 2011-08-18 13:57

      Indeed, Pencilgraffiti. Start with the ministers and then work your way up to the children of the land.

  • NEWDADUDE - 2011-08-18 09:31

    YOU THINK??? Pity your anc brothers and sisters didnt get that memo buddy!

  • Ansa - 2011-08-18 09:32

    Yeah, start teaching that to the ANC politicians in parliament straight away!!

  • Heinster - 2011-08-18 09:32

    Motlanthe for president - JZ and JM red cards are long overdue...They are not even shy of their corrupt activities anymore

      Ion James - 2011-08-18 09:45

      I think he's worse than JZ: you can argue Jacob doesn't know any better

      Vullis - 2011-08-18 09:52

      more like 'Zille' for President. It's high time we have a woman in office to take this country forward!!

  • JMan - 2011-08-18 09:33

    Yes Mr Motlanthe. And you and your colleagues should sit in the front row in that class.

  • John - 2011-08-18 09:34

    gee whiskers ou, these values should be part of being brought up,shouldn't need classes to know corruption is wrong and what would you do send the whole ruling party and it's yl back to school cause this is where to story starts

      NEWDADUDE - 2011-08-18 09:36

      Most probably didnt even go to school in the first place!

      Komasa - 2011-08-18 10:53

      @John you may walk the talk in your community but on the public platform you come across as an idiot.

      John - 2011-08-18 11:41

      @blanco, dont suppose ,you dont know me, jup i'm a born and bred south african,white and proud of it. i have met quite a few orphans through my life time white, black and coloured and non of them i know are corrupt thieves, maybe growing up with less taught them good values and to work hard for what they want.The reason you should ask is because it might be alien to you that some young people irrospective of race and there circumstances growing up want a better life in the counrty of their birth @komsa, based on your other one line comments on this site i think you look like the idiot on the public platform, prick

      ANC-FTL - 2011-08-18 16:19

      Lol Komasa looks like you didnt go to school?

  • Aj - 2011-08-18 09:34

    Ethics should be taught at home and shown at school

      Marcell - 2011-08-18 12:49

      Sex at school. Is that lack of ethics or morals. The ancESTORS have non. The next thing we'll hear is that it is apartheids fault.

  • Will99 - 2011-08-18 09:35

    Maybe if you and your buddies stop being corrupt and the news doesn't have to air it, maybe then kids won't learn to be that way. did you think of that??

  • MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 09:35

    Yeah Motlanthe, what about your girlfriend and the Sishen mine? Is that the cancer you are talking about because you have been awfully quiet about it?

      blanco_pta - 2011-08-18 09:58

      @mandla, I'm failing to get yo point broer. is it based on the article?

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 10:22

      Blanco, Zuma is not "directly" corrupt but handed the gravy to family and friends which is why we don't respect a word that comes out of his mouth. If Motlanthe expects us to take treat him differently and applaud initiatives, he must start the removal of cancer at home and he hasn't done that. My point? Walk the talk. If you want kids to learn ethics, be ethical. Simple

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 10:30

      Blanco, Zuma has looted state funds through family and friends and we no longer take him seriously. Motlanthe too has looted the Sishen mine through his girlfriend who has multiple tenders and has never uttered a word against it himself. He must SHOW us how to remove cancer. My point? Walk the talk. How does he expect HIS initiatives to be taken seriously if he does not endorse them through action? Sorry Blanco but I'm at a stage where I no longer support anything in power that only talks.

      Komasa - 2011-08-18 10:50

      Mandla don't include us all in your drivel.

      Roman Moroni - 2011-08-18 13:00

      Well said Mandla - these "anythings in power" that you are referring to should not be "in power" but "serving" - but the population have given them this sense of power by turning elections into a census in this country.

      The Observer - 2011-08-18 13:01

      blonco - read again and think. Not that difficult to understand.

      The Observer - 2011-08-18 13:03

      komasa - shut up! You were not referenced in Mandla's post, not everything is about you. Tell me who this "Us" is you are talking about. Madla was reference to "us" is South Africans.

  • Mad Man - 2011-08-18 09:36

    Now that is a Brilliant idea. Thumbs up for you Kgalema Motlanthe. Now how about getting rid of corruption in government? The best way, after all is to lead by example. If you show that corruption is dealt with harshly and that those responsible are jailed, it will go a long way towards getting the message out. Or are the corrupt too powerful for you to deal with? Is this yet again another load of hot air made to impress with no real intent on following through?

      Felix - 2011-08-18 10:15

      What have you done with our trol!!!?

  • HappyGoLucky - 2011-08-18 09:38

    ill tell you one thing that they need to start teaching in schools (again) too, is rules of the road! the only thing they can teach about corruption, is how not to get caught

  • blanco_pta - 2011-08-18 09:40

    Well, Deputy President, I hope yo sentiments are shared by the president and other prominent political leaders otherwise yo lecture is another waffle and a waste of people’s time.

  • Jay - 2011-08-18 09:40

    WOW we all bitch and complain, but when a guy openly says that its wrong then you lot still post negative comments. A guy like Motlanthe is vitally important in this country. The ANC are here to stay for the foreseeable future, its men like him in the ANC that will hopefully be a voice of reason. Im no ANC supporter but rather a Motlanthe than a JUJU!

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 09:54

      I used to think so too Jay until you learn he and his president JZ gave themselves 21% of the mining rights in Sishen through loved ones. Malema's girlfriend is facing corruption charges (a PA nogal) and Motlanthe like Zuma has not come out and scorned the corruption in Sishen. Dissapointing!

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 11:15

      @Mandla Sithole. We hear your story but going back to the article, do you think what he said makes sense? Do you think that if we implement it it could actually work and make a difference. Don't let anything outside of this article cloud the truth/solution that could be there in his words.

      Stryder - 2011-08-18 11:28

      @Jay - Every year the same speeches are made but no action is taken. Whoopedy F'n doo. He stated the obvious. let's see some action for a change.

      Victoria - 2011-08-18 11:29

      @Maltrupa. I think the point Mandla is trying to make is how honest is Motlanthe being. It IS great that he's speaking out against corruption, but will he follow through with actions if he is also involved in corrupt practices? I think Moeletsi would make a fantastic president. With Judge Moseneke as Chief Justice.

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 11:40

      Thank you Victoria, you took the words right out of my mouth. There's more we can achieve if we ask politicians to walk the talk now. Its been 17 years and our ears are polluted by ideas, initiatives and perspectives but our eyes are blinded by non delivery

      The Observer - 2011-08-18 12:59

      MandlaSithole - My man you rock.

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 13:00

      @Victoria and Mandla. And I get that - everyone has their own blotches. But for me the current issue is: can i take what is being said (and trying really hard not to judge its source), see the potential of it or the truth in it and how it can benefit society and make it work. I read the article and my mind went into overdrive on the endless possibilities this concept possesses and it's as if Mandla's comment (no offense intended at all) wanted to limit my mind on these possibilities because of something I feel is an issue outside of this. And I guess it's not only Motlhanthe who has the power to act; someone else who is better able to act can run with this truth instead.

      modumo - 2011-08-18 13:24

      @Mandla, u keep going on and on about the Mine, Have you got facts or is it just a conspiracy? How do you know that maybe the girlfriend used her relationship status with Motlanthe as leverage, he might have not been directly involved. Plus she is not a spouse...relax yourself with the allegations and at least find comofort in the fact that someone has noticed the problem and has come up with a viable solution. We might not see the effects of the solution but atleast we know that if implimented there will be a generation of people you believe in being fair and just. A lot of problems will not be solved in our era but will be seen in our childrens children, Id rather live knowing that we fighting for the equality of future generations, imagine a South Africa with trully honest and HIV free people, lets not be selfish, lets work to ensure that day does rise upon South Africa our land.

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 13:44

      @Modumo "We might not see the effects of the solution but atleast we know that if implimented there will be a generation of people you believe in being fair and just. A lot of problems will not be solved in our era but will be seen in our childrens children, Id rather live knowing that we fighting for the equality of future generations, imagine a South Africa with trully honest and HIV free people, lets not be selfish, lets work to ensure that day does rise upon South Africa our land." I definately agree with that!

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 13:58

      Maltrupa and Modumo; Lets stop having low standards. Thats the cause for incopetency. How can a next door neighbor tell you how to prevent your children from being abused when he has watched his own family abuse others? Wheres the logic in that? Modumo:"Plus she is not a spouse...relax yourself with the allegations and at least find comofort in the fact that someone has noticed the problem and has come up with a viable solution." Really?! So not being a spouse makes being connected to political power ok. At this day in age we are still being impressed by deputy presidents that "notice" the problem? He has been deputy president for almost a full term and the best he can do is notice and pitch an idea? He should be implementing various plans to combat corruption by now not pitching ideas.

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 14:10

      @Mandla. I'm just going to agree to disagree with you on this one and just let it rest. Was refreshing to get into a debate with no name-calling involved. Thank you.

      MandlaSithole - 2011-08-18 14:41

      Like wise

      modumo - 2011-08-18 15:48

      @Mandla, I do agree that not being the spouse does not justify any wrong doing, all I am saying is that the corruption could have been brought about by the woman and not Motlanthe, he has thus far been an honourable Dp and out standing mamber of the ANC who is dedicated to the cause. This does not mean that he has not abused power. allegation will for ever be the cornerstone of politics, provingthe allegations is another thing. You must understand that the current political climate within the ANC is just right for Motlanthe to come out from the shadows to run for president of the ANC, this has been a chance for hime to show us his train of thought. The train of thought of a polotician is probably a good guide to his/her moral integrity. What can you do today to ensure a better tomorrow for your lineage? Part of our basic role on this earth is to procreate to ensure human survival therefore we should keep in mind that its not just about your life, your tax, your whatever but about ensuring that once you die you have left some values for future generations. We are the true barometer of democracy in south africa, this is the worst it should get/be, so selfishness aside, lets work towards ensuring a better generation. Lastly I am also delighted to have had a conversation without any racial remarks or slurs. It shows that there are people who think beyond race when it comes to the future of SA.

  • Chris - 2011-08-18 09:41

    stop speaking and saying stuff over and over and think that will be enough - start with actions - start with investigations proper investing using what ever means to catch - trail and sentence anyone finding guilty - whala - easy nuh - look at Zille and maybe ask her for help and look at her as an example. she is confident and honest and vivid in everything she or her party does - best major award, best municipalities damn man if i was the prez I would have phoned her long time ago for help. please madam, here take thes problem municipalities and do your magic pleas ma'm.

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 11:20

      This could actually complement the actions. While the actions are taking place as a reaction tool, ethics eduacation could also take place as a preventative tool agains corruption.

      Chris - 2011-08-18 12:23

      Maltrupa - you make it sound to complicated. Just look at what works and follow example.

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 13:08

      But it's not complicated at all. Even Ms Zille believes in the 'get to the root/source of the problem in order to get rid of the problem itself' approach - fighting drugs themselves in order to get rid of drug related crime in the Western Cape. Now i think this could work.

      Chris - 2011-08-18 13:33

      maltrupa - did you watch Carte Blance? Drugs in our townships - how is it possible that normal people can pin point the houses where the drug lords stay and sell but the police can't raid such a place. you see someone selling drugs miles away why are the cops not acting on this. make drug fighting crime first priority and you will see how crime drops by at least 40%....and your right, pluk hulle wortel en al uit!

      Maltrupa - 2011-08-18 13:58

      I get your point but we seem to be going down another tangent. I was merely pointing out the principle within the drugs issue. Maybe that's where Ethics Education might come in handy again; you might actually have future cops who will want to do the right thing.

  • amabok - 2011-08-18 09:42

    Great idea! But it should be introduced into the Government Curriculum. Crap flows downhill not uphill. More buckpassing from a government with its head in the sand.

  • Johnny - 2011-08-18 09:44

    tell that to the parliment

      Netherlands - 2011-08-18 11:46

      PARLIAMENT.... note the section, "LIA" in the word!

  • LubLub - 2011-08-18 09:44

    what a tit

      Vullis - 2011-08-18 12:47

      What a nut

      Vernon - 2011-08-18 15:43

      Guys,guys,the man is old and he has a chick that means he can BUST a

  • POLAR_BEAR - 2011-08-18 09:45

    Our children are brought up to be honest and to have integrity. Rather teach the corruptors in government about corruption. Focus on those that commit the most corruption. Our children see the news every day and already know how corrupt government officials are.

      Peter - 2011-08-18 11:03

      Very true

      The Observer - 2011-08-18 12:55

      Donot totally agree. honesty and integrity is lacking in certain race groups because of what they learn at home and in their neighbourhood, and then what they see on tv.

  • tut - 2011-08-18 09:48

    This is not a South African phenomena. This is purely an inherent ANC trait, so please do not paint everyone with your dirty ANC paintbrush Mr. Motlanthe! Stop finding scapegoats because you know that your political parasitic brothers are sucking us all dry. The ANC is malignant with corruption!

      The Observer - 2011-08-18 12:52

      why write anc with capital letters?

  • Jungle - 2011-08-18 09:48

    Yes I agree with you Motlanthe, the only issue is that you need teachers to teach ethics. Not barbarians who run around striking and destroying schools like savages. Ethics 101 for teachers then for students. I am 27 years old and so I suppose I benefited from Apartheid but man you guys need to get a flipping grip, I was 10 when you took the reigns. You have not really done a good job at all....

  • Tolerant - 2011-08-18 09:49

    Says the man that did not pay his own rent and dissapeared in the night. Teach this to yourself and ANC Cadres.

  • Cheekiechops - 2011-08-18 09:49

    What a joke! But yes if thats what it takes then teach it at school.

  • Carl - 2011-08-18 09:50

    Lead by example, investigate Malema. Fire Cele, Shiceka and Mahlangu-Nkabinde. And none of this redeployment business. Off government payroll in jail as soon as possible.

  • York Hunt - 2011-08-18 09:50

    Motlanthe must be having us on! Corruption is rife in the ANC government. Rife!

  • coling - 2011-08-18 09:51

    from a totally corrupt anc that's amazing!!!!!!!

  • mo-man - 2011-08-18 09:54

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

  • Daemos1 - 2011-08-18 09:56

    We should teach ethics earlier in school, our kids are in an increasingly corruupted world

  • Badger - 2011-08-18 09:58

    mothlante - Ethics should be taught in parlement and then goverment departments and then local goverment and then munucipalities and then public sector and then..... Do you catch the drift??

      blanco_pta - 2011-08-18 10:26

      @i don't think u get the rationale behind his idea. “We may need to begin exploring creative ways of introducing subjects related to ethics into our school curriculum very early in the development of the learner”,…… “development stage”. R u still lost or u just stupid?

      Badger - 2011-08-18 13:34

      blanco. clearly ethics was not a subject in your school curriculum. Thats the parents job your moron. obviously your parents also did not teach you in your "development phase" about ethics. Now go back and do grade 1!!!

  • Vela Stardust - 2011-08-18 09:59

    Well said Motlanthe. But, this is all just lip service. If you want South Africans to believe the ANC lead government is serious about getting rid of corruption, for starters, re-open the arm deal probe. Remember, most South Africans view Zuma as tainted so they are going to need something BIG to be convinced the you are serious about stopping the cancer of corruption.

  • McDaNife - 2011-08-18 10:00

    "including political leaders, needed to work together to eliminate it" But political leaders are the corrupted ones and need to be taught how not to steal, leave the citizens alone

  • crackerr - 2011-08-18 10:00

    Why should we associate with what the ANC big wigs say? Why? Especially if their actions reflect absolutely different intentions to what they tell the world.

  • Al - 2011-08-18 10:06

    Less talk, more action.........

  • Thabo Matwabeng - 2011-08-18 10:14

    Rediculous. Children learn by example. The first thing that should happen is for the government to act against public and elected officials who are involved with unethical activities. Unfortunately the very essence of Chancellor House and the Progressive Business Forum are based on the principle of exploiting political connections for enrichment as opposed to enforcing a clear seperation between the functions in government, and the differentiation between the Party and the State. Until those principles are not upheld you can forget about changing anything.

  • Donovan Jackson - 2011-08-18 10:15

    In my culture, ethics and morality are taught primarily by parents.

  • Koos Poggenpoel - 2011-08-18 10:15

    Ok - sweet - Like the old saying goes, people in glass houses should not be throwing stones.....Get your and your corrupt buddies to stop the cANCerious corruption, and them and only then will "we" the tax payer take statements like that seriously. Kgalema is not perfect and has had his hands in a few things, but I think he is better than JZZZZZZZZZZZ

  • edd - 2011-08-18 10:15

    No, Corruption is cANCerous!!!!!

  • Pheasant Plu - 2011-08-18 10:16

    With respect South African public schools cannot even teach Maths and English and now we want them to teach ethics as well.

  • errol.wagner - 2011-08-18 10:17


      Cheekiechops - 2011-08-18 10:21

      Why are you shouting? No need for caps!

  • IC1 - 2011-08-18 10:21

    Kgalema, it starts with the parents, this is not a teachers responsibility to teach our kids ethics. If you have un ethical parents, good chance the kids are going to be the same.

  • PB - 2011-08-18 10:22

    The fact that the ANCYL are promoting him is suspicous - they never do that unless it is directly in their favour. Pity, other than that I would have put him at the top of the list for next Prez. Moeletsi Mbeki sounds on a par with Mothlanthe when it comes to intelligence, etc, without the ANCYL stamp of approval - that puts him in the lead!

  • Met - 2011-08-18 10:25

    Corruption cANCerous ?Really? He should tell that to the chap in the office next door- the one with the leopard skin around his head.Not all schools- but certainly the ANC school which they are opening. In fact, make it the major subject and make it compulsory. And by that I dont mean HOW to be corrupt and avoid being caught

  • AJ - 2011-08-18 10:26

    it happens on your watch. go talk to a mirror.

  • - 2011-08-18 10:31

    You are very right minister,but dont you have a youth league that should be doing this instead of trying to run political movements? Let the ANCYL to bring morals and standards back to the youth for a better SA.

  • letsee - 2011-08-18 10:37

    That's talking about we all already knew. What's going to be done?

  • allows - 2011-08-18 10:38

    And that needs to be taught now? Isn't it a given that corruption is wrong?

  • Lab-Rat - 2011-08-18 10:41

    Corruption is cANCerous indeed!

  • Stephan Janse van Vuuren - 2011-08-18 10:44

    Sorry to say mr "Deputy President", ethics should be tought at home. It is called proper parenting.

  • webstar - 2011-08-18 10:45

    Hayibo - Don't do as we do, do as we tell you!

  • ReThan - 2011-08-18 10:52

    No you are cancerous to the world.