Leaders should get lifestyle audits: Vavi

2011-12-08 22:49

Johannesburg - Political leaders should undergo lifestyle audits to clear suspicions about their wealth, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

"[This is so] we leave no doubt in the minds of our people who are increasingly suspicious of everybody that seems to be driving a better car ..." he told delegates at an anti-corruption summit in Johannesburg.

Vavi welcomed lifestyle audits being carried out by the SA Revenue Service into the sources of wealth of some individuals.

Among those being investigated is suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

"We are happy that SARS is investigating those suspected of dodging their tax responsibilities or who have wealth that they can't explain," Vavi said.

"These are valuable weapons needed to identify and prosecute those involved in corruption."

Corruption had become endemic in South Africa and the misappropriation of state resources had reached alarming proportions, the unionist told his audience.

SA facing a nightmare

Delegates heard that government departments were not enforcing laws and officials were exploiting gaps in the system to win government tenders.

"Public servants are supposed to be caring for the public but instead they are caring for their own narrow financial interests," said Vavi.

"We are facing a nightmare, a nightmare future for South Africa which is up for auction to the highest bidder."

Vavi said factions were being formed, not for ideologies or political views, but for access to government power.

"Honest and talented individuals who cannot play this dirty game of survival of the fittest get sidelined."

The summit heard that South Africa could not defeat corruption and abuse of power with weak organisations.

It needed a strong, vibrant and active ruling African National Congress along with independent state institutions.

It also needed a diversified, robust, pro-poor and religious media.

Vavi said the protection of state information bill would deter whistleblowers from reporting crimes, making it easier to conceal corruption in the government.

Elite stealing from poor

Those reporting corruption faced jail time, while those committing it would "roam the streets".

Vavi, who was recently appointed a board member of the parastatal Industrial Development Corporation, expressed support for the establishment of an anti-corruption task team by President Jacob Zuma into expensive hotel stays by ministers and government officials.

He told delegates that tender processes needed to be transparent and that public servants needed to be held accountable for wrongdoing.

Corruption was the elite's way of stealing from the poor, said Vavi.

"It has become a matter of life and death. Corruption is the biggest threat to the realisation of our dreams... Self-enrichment will unravel the fabric of society."

If the current economic system of capitalism continued with the "me first" mentality, it would be difficult to root out corruption, he said.

Earlier, National Anti-Corruption Forum chairperson Futhi Mtoba said 1 273 public service officials were charged with misconduct for corrupt activities between September 2004 and June 2011.

During this time, 603 officials were dismissed from the public service, 226 were suspended, 134 were fined and 16 demoted. Another 330 officials were given final written warnings and 190 prosecuted.

  • Cheryl - 2011-12-08 23:13

    no, audits would be 'interfering'. the ANC leaders are royalty , above the law and are supreme highnesses, gods of all the erthand animals and creatures. they have superpowers with the ability to make billions magically disaperar with no evidence or records. look at their beauty as their glorious swollen bellies expand with the gas of caviar and moet chandon, farting sweet fragrances of putrid meat and lamb. their designer clothing is found in XXXXXL sizes and their limozones are majestic spaceships taking them away to their plnet up in the sky . viva anc viva the people shout......WHAT GODS THEY ARE.

      Sean - 2011-12-09 00:02

      If one looks at the whole of Africa , to be hounest and realistic , what hope is there ? I agree with Vavi about the audits , but it will never happen !!

      procold2 - 2011-12-09 08:48

      these are very powerful people for every one rotten deal they have hundreds of excuses, explinations and coverups,great idea,just dont see it happening

  • Steward - 2011-12-08 23:17

    You cannot cure a disease with more of the same. The only way anything will change in this country is when people stop viewing their vote as a repayment on a debt, but as a tool to bring about change.

      Ibhubesi - 2011-12-09 00:21

      Brilliantly said and the only way forward! People should stop seeing the ANC as a religion and start understanding the power of their vote!

      Geronimo - 2011-12-09 00:30

      very succinctly put, that's exactly the way the vast majority of the masses see it - repayment of a debt. And democracy suffers for it.

  • Lynn - 2011-12-08 23:28

    I think that's an excellent idea. The Gods will be up in arms of course but so what. It is about time they came down to earth. Time to answer to the public and explain how they all got so wealthy. I for one would like to know where the money tree is.

      Florence Clarke - 2013-04-07 06:23

      So would I. If you find it please let me know

  • wellington.chagonda - 2011-12-08 23:28

    You are right our future president j..u,are are sorry its.... oh so yu want,so yu first!

      TheWatcher - 2011-12-09 00:35

      @wellington: the words you write are English but the result is gibberish

      Callan - 2011-12-09 08:06

      Wellington, wading through that gibberish it sounds like you went to school with JuJU....same woodwork grades hey?!

  • Bob - 2011-12-09 00:02

    Absolutely and none of them should be exempt from this audit...!

  • Geronimo - 2011-12-09 00:28

    Very sensible idea. When is the Ministerial Handbook going to change? They've been talking about that for years without any action.

  • TheWatcher - 2011-12-09 00:41

    I agree 100% with the audit but I'm skeptical that anything will be done about it. There will be too much political interference. Guilty people will bribe there way out of it or point out some poor sod who'll be made a scapegoat.

  • Elbie Schlebusch - 2011-12-09 01:37

    As for the last paragraph: is that all in so many years??!!!!! And as for our country being up for sale to the highest bidder: at the moment the highest bidder looks to be China, sad but true.

  • Dewdawn - 2011-12-09 06:30

    Zwelinzima Vavi wants to be the next at the trough on the Gravy Train. Do not be fooled by his remarks. Can you imagine the chaos he will create for employers in South Africa.

      Duane - 2011-12-09 07:09

      I agree , lets start the audit with him. people in glass houses shouldnt throw stones.

  • pws69 - 2011-12-09 06:37

    Why are all these 'elite" mentioned aligned with the ANC? And as they are, how can COSATU in good conscience still support the ANC?

      Florence Clarke - 2013-04-07 06:27

      Good question

  • Garth - 2011-12-09 06:42

    Well said Vavi. If I did not think that trade unions are a waste of time and money and bad for the economy as a whole, I would support you. Then again, it is probably only electioneering on your side - after all, isn't every politician always after the next vote?

  • Peter - 2011-12-09 06:50

    When is COSATU going to withdraw from the ANC-SACP-COSATU alliance to add action to their words? Saying these things as an alliance member has obviously no effect. Maybe Vavi is just tasked to say these things so that it looks as if someone is watching and doing something so that the rest can go on on their merry ways.

  • Peter - 2011-12-09 07:20

    The National Anti-Corruption Forum is an initiative that we should all support, unequivocally. Zwelinzima Vavi is speaking out against this scourge and is prepared to throw the weight of his organisation behind rooting it out. He needs a vote of confidence, I believe, not the negative tirade that is being levelled at him. Of course we know that he is a part of the governing alliance, but he is trying to clean it up from the inside. If nothing else, it is a brave move and can hardly be perceived as having any guise at all. Of course, the usual corps of 'party politickers' will make a meal of his efforts! The question is, who is doing the right thing for the people, Zwelinzima or the naysayers?

  • Juan - 2011-12-09 07:57

    That would never fly. All these criminals exposed. No wonder they need the protection of information bill to cover up their crimes.

  • Peter - 2011-12-09 08:05

    Dont't just suspend them, or put them on full paid leave. Just fire the Fu&kers immediately. It always ends up with the tax man still paying for them for years until a judgement is given that finalises the matter.

  • as i see it - 2011-12-09 08:09

    The more these so called officials (thugs) plunder the tax payer's money, the more the government will find ways to collect more revenue from us.

  • ana.curcic - 2011-12-09 08:19

    What good will come from being susspended, demoted, transferd, being issued with final warning..................? they just start all over again, but this time more careful and with bigger take than before. I say FIRE THEM and let them never be appointed to any responsible job and YES, make them pay back what they stole, and YES imprison the bastards if nothing else as a leson to others. Let's start with Jacob and Shabier.

  • Craig - 2011-12-09 09:01

    Corrupt activities = fraud = theft, why weren't any of them, actually all of them, arrested and sent to jail?

  • Steven - 2011-12-09 09:19

    Mr Vavi. You are never afraid to criticise the ANC but you also never wait to long to show your allegiance to them. so why dont you quiet down cause they dont take you serious Have been on this topic for a while already and nothing hasa happened which should show you how serious they take you. They just using you for numbers mate. Wakey wakey and smell the coffe. I thought and hoped you were more intelegtual than that.

  • Msholozi - 2011-12-09 09:51

    why must our leaders be treated like criminals there lifestyle is same as what they work who wants this?

      Blade - 2011-12-09 10:40

      Who let you out of your cage Bobo?

  • George - 2011-12-09 11:06

    As I have said before, "what are you going to do about it, talk is cheap"

  • William - 2011-12-09 12:34

    Yes, from Cape Town to Lagos, Luanda to Cairo. Not a uniquely SA thing but a very African phenomenon. Most politicians are purely looking after NO 1 and care little for the people. Corruption is endemic in SA society and until the politcal will is achieved to properly deal with it then it will always be there!! So, so sad!! This country could be great, but for the parasites that drain our resources and moral fibre daily.

  • Quartus van Zyl - 2013-03-20 11:58

    Nkandla must be on top of the list!!

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