Madonsela: Stop politicising corruption

2012-05-12 11:02

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela believes South Africans should stop politicising public sector corruption and take responsibility for it, her office said on Saturday.

"People see corruption as a political disease, like only politicians are corrupt," she said at a Diakonia Council of Churches function in Durban on Friday night.

"What about the public servants. For example, what about the engineers that certify that construction on shoddily built RDP [Reconstruction and Development Programme] houses has been completed according to specifications?"

This did not mean corruption did not exist in civil society.

"In fact, quite the opposite, we have corruption in the public sector because there is corruption in civil society," she said.

"Otherwise, who corrupts those who exercise public power? Furthermore, people in the public sector are members of all our communities."

Madonsela said the religious community had a role to play in combating the "twin evils" of maladministration and corruption.

With the likes of Dr Beyers Naude and Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa involved in the liberation struggle, Madonsela urged the cloth to get more involved in defeating the challenges to South Africa's young democracy.

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-05-12 11:13

    No I will not. Because politicians are living off my money and then charging me more in taxes and other schemes to finance their lavish and corrupt lifestyles. Like that crrok Shikelo Shiceka who is being buried at my expense today.

      lownabester - 2012-05-12 11:45

      If Shiceka has to read what's said about him now after his death, he would not know who they talking about, Making him a saint, Idiots.

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-05-12 12:58

      Well said Vernon !

      Oscar - 2012-05-12 13:00

      The cracks are beginning to show in Madonsela's mask. She is also just an ANC crony, nothing more nothing less.

      Christopher - 2012-05-12 13:10

      @Sematla...Oh yes, I can afford a good few expensive ones. Not really to my taste, but on an occassion like this I deserve at least one. And I will be passing it around, and everyone will be wanting to celebrate this thiefs death.Cheers Sematla

      Themba - 2012-05-12 13:11

      Oscar corruption happens in the private sector as well. Her powers are limited to investigation only the public sector. On what basis are you calling her a crony?

      Fussed - 2012-05-12 13:19

      You dont hear of cars crashing in the high seas and no ships crashing on highways. MAINLY corruption in gov

      bobby.mykonos - 2012-05-12 13:54

      Vernon I expect everyone in the country to obey the law and work hard to earn a living. I don't care whether they work in government or private sector. Stealing is stealing. Self enrichment is self enrichment. Tender rigging is tender rigging. You can't hold government to a higher ethical standard than you apply to its citizens.

      Themba - 2012-05-12 17:45

      Oscar, she makes recommendations. She has no powers to prosecute anyone. Some Ministers were fired following her investigations and recommendations (Public Works and Cooperative Government's Gwen Mahlangu and Sicelo Shiceka. Bheki Cele has been hauled over the coals and we are waiting for JZ to make up his mind on whether to prosecute or not

      andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-05-13 10:34

      We, the public are not politicising corruption, the politicians and government employees are the ones with their hands in the till and continue raiding taxpayer pockets to enjoy the lifestyles they have become accustomed to.

  • Innocent - 2012-05-12 11:21

    Tradiction leaders must also a subject ot invistigation by public protector in rulal areas leaders torch and charge peaple. Which violeting of human right.

      SubGenius - 2012-05-12 13:57

      Tradiction dictates that the rulal leaders torch and invistigate peaple without violeting their right. Well said. *ahem*

  • Christopher - 2012-05-12 11:36

    The last time I heard is this sad government awards tenders to these public companies do they not. So really they are to blame.

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-05-12 13:04

      @ Christopher Agreed, The ANC has control of the situation and is milking it for their own benefit , whether it thru Chancellor House or for the benefit of their politically connected buddies. Worse, when have you seen any one go to jail, or evidence of the recovery of the money..... only when it is beneficial to the various power struggles within the ANC. So is it right to politicise corruption.... DAMN RIGHT IT IS !

      bobby.mykonos - 2012-05-12 13:44

      and the companies are the ones paying the bribes to get special treatment. How can you not see that it is wrong for companies to offer bribes to government. Both parties are guilty of corruption. It's not as if government is bribing itself.

      Malcolm - 2012-05-12 15:05

      Yes Chris, the government has the obligation to set the example of honesty and integrity and so lead the nation from the front. Once the leaders have themselves set and demonstrated the bar of moral high-ground in front of the people, then the elite can demand that we follow suit or face the full might of the law. At present the ANC has lost the mandate to govern for they willingly mire themselves in theft and corruption as easily as we eat breakfast. Madonsela, being part of the government, has things “about-face”; she expects the people to take responsibility for corruption and become righteous first; and then the ANC will follow. I don’t think so!!

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-12 11:36

    Dear Thuli : Civil society does not control the flow of funds into and out of the fiscus. It is the politicians and the governmental officials who misdirect the funds towards personal and political party interests. But I do agree with you : It should be depoliticized. The whole management of our country should be depoliticized. Education. Agriculture. Justice. Science and Technology. Sport. Women and Children. Water affairs. Weather. Municipalities. SAPS. Home Affairs. Etc... The only portfolio's which should perhaps have some sort of political colour, should be Foreign Affairs and National Security.

      adrien.mcguire - 2012-05-12 12:57

      You are so right ! The education of the future of this country is being manipulated by the politicians. They don't do a proper job, then manipulate results for political gain. The justice system is being manipulated to be ANC friendly, rather than to serve the interests of the country and it's citizens. Sport has become a political pawn. etc etc etc ! It is a disgrace !

      Glenda - 2012-05-12 21:44

      Very inteligent answer.

  • Johannes - 2012-05-12 11:40

    Citizens deal with te public sector and seeing as the ANC is running the majority of that public sector. Seeign as the ANC is a political party. Then surely politicising it is the obvious conclusion. ANC = Corruption/Public explotation to all

  • tabisa.ndamase.7 - 2012-05-12 11:52

    We really need to stop politicising corruption. Therez lot of corruption perpetrated by people who are not politicians. Take 4 example people in rural areas they are mistreated by traditional leaders who are not members of any political party lots of things are happening there, people are paying monies for the land that sometimes they don't even get.

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-12 12:01

      Tabisa, Traditional leaders are part of the present political system.

      tabisa.ndamase.7 - 2012-05-12 18:12

      That is my surname, I have a royal blood within my veins. As for what I said we don't need to run away from the truth because these things they do happen even if its not from my community. Am not saying politicians are not corrupt but we should also focus on the other angles where corruption is coming from.

  • ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2012-05-12 11:52

    Ja but its more politicians that are corrupt.

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-12 12:09

      That fancy "Handbook" - written by themselves, for themselves - allows them to have other "business" interests. So a politician or politically aligned governmental official can easily grant a ( inflated ) contract to a business in which he has an interest or make some decision benefiting his "business". NO government official should be allowed to have ANY other business interests AT ALL. The job we gave them should be their ONLY job, and they must SHOW the RESULTS we expect from them.

  • Jacques - 2012-05-12 11:55

    Short comment All you mention has the involvement of the ANC. They appoint, they manage and they are responsible. Dont tell me not to politicise it when it is a one party state in charge of the pucblic sector

  • Andrew - 2012-05-12 12:07

    Wake up corruption on the scale we are seeing is an ANC disease. Don"t fool yourself. It started with the president and since he came into power it has run out of control!!!!

      mzwandile.dlamanzi - 2012-05-12 12:19

      my worie is that thumb down. Compare mbeki and zuma era, corruption has increased exponentially.

      sydney.matubandlela - 2012-05-12 12:42

      Andrew, are you saying that there was no corruption prior to 1994? I disagree. Mzwandile are you saying that corruption only started or became worse post 2009?I disagree, if you look at the number of Tenderprenuers created by the Mbeki admnistration you will realise that what we've been seeing since Zuma took over doesn't come close to the Mbeki era! Andrew the the pre-94 regime was corrupt to the core, but none of you tend to refer to it because it was \white\ corruption so it was ok...? Are you saying the DA is less corrupt? No I don't think so, in western cape now none of the black business are getting any government contracts! Well I agree with the public protector that if we are to fight corruption we need to remove the face of ANC politicians as representing it, coz then we are ignoring the root cause of corruption which is the public sector corrupting public officials!

      Themba - 2012-05-12 13:07

      Leornard, can the Post-Polokwane anc leadership and their followers debate or they can only shout down and swear at people?

      Robin - 2012-05-12 13:57

      Crack is whack!!

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-12 12:13

    Well I don't see how I can do something about corruption in a country where and honest official is hard to find.

  • Themba - 2012-05-12 12:17

    So true. Corruptions happens in private and public offices. However, what makes my blood boil is that while it does not affect me when private companies commit it, it affects me big time when it is public servants who are committing it because they are using my tax

      Themba - 2012-05-12 12:34

      This is news to me. What do they get subsidies for?

  • Paul - 2012-05-12 12:17


      Marion - 2012-05-12 15:57

      @Paul - that could be fun. I second that for the pure entertainment value. :-)))

  • John - 2012-05-12 12:34

    QUOTE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela believes South Africans should stop politicising public sector corruption and take responsibility for it. UNQUOTE No I will not, get your ANC government to stop stealing our hard earned money first! On average R21bn a year has either been stolen or gone missing since 1994, not a good track record is it? The previous government most likely stole too but not in such an arrogant and blatant manner. Soon the trough will be empty and what then are the pigs going to feed on, Nationalisation? Don't blame or pass the buck to civil society as civil society is simply copying its so called leaders. Lastly, don't drag your office into this rather focus your engergy on bringing the culprits to book.

      goodman.segage - 2012-05-12 14:59

      Justice for all, let's stop using one lane.

  • KCorsar - 2012-05-12 12:48

    Agree totally, but then why is Government so hell bent on introducing a bill into law that will make it allow matters to fester unseen. So, the agrument whilst true, is also flawed. The People can only participate in making society less corrupt, IF they are ABLE to. So drop the infor bill, as this can and will only make it easier to operate in clandistine and corrupt manner.

  • adolf.heim - 2012-05-12 13:03

    Thuli you ROCK :) We support your efforts to the utmost. Focus on the crime and forget the noise around you. You have the support of the silent majority. Keep it up!

      Dee - 2012-05-12 13:18


      msuthukazi.nkqwitha - 2012-06-03 08:14

      i would cast my vote for her if she were to run for president

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:04

    Thuli, I really think that you are one on the most competent professionals in their field.However, there is a fundamental difference between corporate and governmental corruption. Corporate thieves mostly steal their own money. Governmental thieves always steal yours and my money. That is the difference and that is why Governmental thieves deserve more airtime because their thefts far outweigh corporate ones and therefore much more news worthy. That is aside from the fact that when Government officials steal, its big bucks.

      Marion - 2012-05-12 15:58

      @SALife - doesn't corporate corruption result in the government not getting the taxes it should?

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:11

    Thuli, Here is a great explanation offered by Koos Bekker Naspers Koos Bekker argues that regrettably a practice has arisen to mingle business and politics. Business skills and politics don’t mix well but in South Africa, regrettably, a practice has arisen to mingle the two. Businesspeople often think they’ll make great politicians. The first foreigner to whom our group exported technology, many years ago, was Silvio Berlusconi – an excellent businessman. When he became premier, I thought: forza Italia! Now we all know how that turned out. A few years later we traded with Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand. An agile CEO too, but when prime minister... Why are businesspeople such lousy public servants? It may lie deep in the genes. Businesspeople are selfish. They build structures to make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, as Adam Smith saw, provided everyone stays within the law.

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:13

    Let each one chase money in his grinding but legal little ways and in the process create jobs – as soon as he makes money, we tax him nicely anyway. (Our group, for example, last year paid our shareholders R1.1bn in dividends and the South African state R4bn in taxes.) By contrast, a politician serves his fellow men. He or she is elected not to seek selfish profit, but to serve the common good on behalf of all of us. For that, he or she receives only a salary and a pension so, once retired, has to give public speeches or write memoirs to pay the Woolworths account (just ask Tony Blair, Festus Mogae of Botswana and every other honest politician). In South Africa, regrettably, a practice has arisen to mingle the two. Politicians acquire business interests and soon can’t distinguish between private profit and the greater public good. Conversely, businesspeople are “cadre deployed” into public appointments and use those to push their private interests, more or less as Berlusconi did in Italy and Thaksin in Thailand. Perhaps most damaging of all has been “cadre deployment” of politicos into our public enterprises. There can hardly be another country in the world that has mangled its great public corporations like we have in recent years: Eskom, Telkom, the SABC, Sentech, the Land Bank, etc. Continued It makes you reach for the Twinsavers. Billions of our common funds that could have gone into schools or pensions were wasted by incompetence.

  • anthonie.vanbosch - 2012-05-12 13:14

    Corruption is part of the mixture you will find in all people. The mixture is the good and evil in people. Greed is also part of the mixture. Spiritual Leaders are trying their best to get more of the good out of people. However, you can only take a horse to water but you can't make it to drink. On the other hand, if you take all his possessions away he has bought with the stolen money, maybe he will start over with a new reborn attitude?

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:14

    Many, many thousands of jobs have been lost. A big part of our economy is run by parastatals – so what happens there matters a great deal. Race is certainly not the problem. Once the SABC had a seasoned black business professional, Peter Matlare, as manager: it turned a profit. Then a political favourite was parachuted in and it disintegrated into loss. Ditto elsewhere. What is it about the art of business management that makes politicians fail? Recently, a contractor dug a ditch in the parking lot around our building. The man drove a yellow Caterpillar with tracks and a huge hydraulic digging arm. My car was hemmed in, so I sat staring at the guy in the cabin controlling this yellow monster. He wore a goatee and looked tough; his tattooed arms shuddered as he pulled levers this way and that; his feet stepped on pedals to crunch the left track forward or brake the right one (I know not what); then he pushed a hidden button and slammed a lever to slew the long dipper and bucket effortlessly across the nose of my car.

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:15

    It struck me that the goatee in the cabin was doing a good management job.

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:17

    That’s how Phuthuma Nhleko became a successful CEO at MTN, or Sizwe Nxasana at FirstRand. To parachute a politician in as head of a complex commercial group is as wise as dressing that same gentleman in the strip of Kaizer Chiefs and sending him on the field as goalie in the next derby against Pirates. Like the kids type on their cellphones: LOL. “Cadre deployment” into our public corporations is evil and the results are there for all to see. It is also French, which is worse. This is how you become head of Air France KLM: you study at an exclusive grande école, work for a minister and, if loyal enough, one day he will apply parachutage – cadre deploy you into a great corporation.

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:18

    The French economy has suffered. Surveys show that French workers are emotionally disengaged from their companies. The parachuted imperial droppings are seen as snooty and impractical. Germany or Sweden have little of this nonsense and have prospered. Here in our beloved country the route to head a public corporation regrettably has become loyalty to an influential politician. Imagine in your mind’s eye such a scene of parachutage one morning in Pretoria: “Well done, young man, you’ve been loyal to me; I hereby crown you head of Acme Corporation. "From tomorrow morning 11 000 workers will report to you. Where the head office is? How should I know? Call 1023!” Can we fix this problem? The solution seems rather simple. Let’s be led politically by politicians: leaders with few private interests and a wish to serve the common good. They won’t make much money – exactly like elsewhere in the world – but if they’re good, they will get into history books and we’ll make bronze statues of them. Let public corporations be run by people who have had their noses to the grindstone in that particular line of work. Everyone will gain. Except politicians who want to use public office for private gain – what is called corruption. Or businesspeople who want to be immortalised in bronze statues without subjecting themselves to the public service ethic.

  • acsteyn - 2012-05-12 13:19

    Or any of us who want to play goalie for Kaizer Chiefs without the pain of first training very hard. This article first appeared on City Press, and is republished with its permission * Koos Bekker is CEO of Naspers, a media and technology group operating in 131 countries. is a Naspers publication. Bekker writes in his personal capacity.

  • Glenda - 2012-05-12 13:27

    If the 6 headed wife-hydra Zuma can manifest such blatant corruption, impressionable school leavers will be inspired. Where does the buck stop being passed, and we find leaders who make the simple decision to serve this extraordinarily beautiful country and not themselves. It's actually REALLY simple. This hysterical greed exemplifies the type of cultural ambiguity that terrifies the good and the beautiful of this land who are reeling from the amounts of money that end up in the wrong hands. SO sad!

      Redibone Lebopa - 2012-05-13 09:20

      Good South Africans, Ms Madonsela is very correct, if we keep on using our political Prejudices to out root corrupt individuals we will fail. The persn who authorized a tender after getting a bribe is corrupt. The question we should ask our self is who is creating the market for corrupt public servants and politicians. Beside greed, a lot of it if the public sector as most of them provide their services thought th government. Llike theft the person who buy stolen property creates a market for theirs.

  • Pule - 2012-05-12 13:49

    Madonsela,don't forget what your son did with state vehicle.Will get rid of you...maybe they must investigate you as well.

      nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-05-12 14:06

      Pule why are you so afraid of Me Madonsela? Are you standing behind the door?

      goodman.segage - 2012-05-12 14:46

      Pule, I saw it coming. People will change tune about her. She's correct though

      Elizabeth - 2012-05-12 16:56

      Children will be children. We can't always control what they get up to. She did not lie about it, try to hide it or blame apartheid. She is not afraid to speak her mind, is one of the most honest and honourable politicians and will not give in to pressure from the top. Tuli for President!!!!!

      ramohapelwa.berries - 2012-05-13 08:30

      Get rid of her before you become her casualty like the late Shiceka, Bheki Cele (former). She apologised

  • Don.Tandy - 2012-05-12 13:58

    It doesn't matter where you put the peg in the ground, the politicians or the public servants, the underlying factor is the inability of the ANCorruption to bring it under control, or worse still, the embracing and practicing of corruption by the senior ANCorruption politicians. A sick sick society.

  • Peter - 2012-05-12 14:29

    The churches are very busy feeding orphans and street children collecting clothes for the winter months and could do with some contribution from... those that are worth billions.

  • Chaapo - 2012-05-12 15:17

    And while all this is true, the truth is when corruption starts at the top it is difficult to have accountability in the other arms. When the centre cannot hold then all else falls apart. The leadership sets the bar for standards and accountability is through those standards. If the standards are low, then everywhere else they will be low. As the adage goes, a fish rots from the head down. When systems fail, you look first at the leadership and often they are the root cause of the failures. It therefore is proper to hold their feet to the fire relatively more because they have the overarching responsibility to see to it that things are done honestly and ethically.

  • Jeremy - 2012-05-12 15:33

    From the beginning of our democracy big business decided to so 'remunerate' the government in return for them keeping their hands off the economy Hence, over the years a culture of corruption has been built up rather than a culture of service among our civil servants. Many now see their jobs as accruing as much loot as they possibly can in the shortest available time. It is our duty as citizens to fight this endemic level of corruption with all our might. Otherwise it will impoverish our country and homes,roads, schools, hospitals and other public amenities will either not be built or repaired. We need to heap the maximum amount of shame on businesses and individual civil servants who participate in corruption.

  • Kevin - 2012-05-12 15:47

    Corruption is corruption is corruption. Politicising it does not change anything. The business people who pay bribes are as bad as the state employee accepting the bribe. All those Johannesburg residents who pay bribes to metro policemen are also guilty of corruption as are the metro police. Where are the politicians in those statements. That does not absolve politicians however they are as venal as antone else. Ms Madonsela stands out in her efforts to expose the wrongdoing and wrongdoers.

  • donovan.hendricks.7 - 2012-05-12 17:25

    It seems like the honourable minister is compromising and covering for her corrupt bosses,what a damn shame I thought she had b@lls.

      ramohapelwa.berries - 2012-05-13 08:20

      Advocate Madonsela's the best Public Protector with balls to date, not some conformist Minister. I appreciate her efforts in this sick South Africa full of corruptors

      ramohapelwa.berries - 2012-05-13 08:20

      Advocate Madonsela's the best Public Protector with balls to date, not some conformist Minister. I appreciate her efforts in this sick South Africa full of corruptors

  • Philemon - 2012-05-13 07:32

    fraud, corruption and nepotisim - we all know who is accountable for it in this country so yeh it is damn political!

  • maryjane.mphahlele - 2012-05-13 08:22

    whoa as if politicians are the only one corrupt?that doesn't make it seem like a good thing.we won't keep quite while politicians chw our money

  • Nuran Mohanlal - 2012-05-13 08:39

    The rot starts from the top..... Our politicians are stealing tax payers money. Corrupt individuals must account to courts of law. Two different things. So if we sort the politicians out, you get better service delivery and fewer corrupt individuals. This makes a happier society.

  • miriam.dandrea.5 - 2012-06-11 08:20

    As I read it Madonsela is affirming what we know: there is serious corruption in many areas of government but.....there is also widespread cheating/corruption be it big scale or petty in our society. Avoiding taxes, breaking the laws of the road, underpaying employees to save a few rand, overcharging. Corruption implies that one persuades someone else to go against a moral/ethical code by paying them a tempting sum of money. We regard it as a criminal act but we also tend to think that if we commit a small scale hand-0ver of bucks we are not practising corruption. Wake up it's Monday morning!!

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