Acting ANC provincial chairperson and Gauteng Premier David Makhura says some civil servants in South Africa might pass a competency test but would fail dismally in integrity and ethics.
Makhura was speaking at the close of the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation's inaugural three-day Inclusive Growth Forum on Sunday.
He encouraged South Africans to cultivate an obsession with integrity and ethics, saying the issue of dealing with corruption could not be resolved through only making the right appointments in the country's crime-fighting institutions.
"I know there are very competent civil servants whose ethical and moral standing is not so good - very competent - but whose ethical and moral grounding is very questionable," he told guests at the conference.
Acknowledging that his view might get him into trouble with some of his peers, Makhura added that it was "fundamental" for society to insist on politicians undergoing lifestyle audits.
"If you are not willing to subject your own life for the public to know that, why should they trust you with the most important decisions of the country?" asked Makhura.
'We need to make it impossible to steal'
The Gauteng premier also said the course of fighting corruption needed to change in SA.
"The paradigm of fighting corruption must not just be about catching the thieves and sending them to prison. If we are preoccupied with just catching the thieves we are not changing the value system to make sure it's difficult to steal," said Makhura.
"We need a lot of reforms that prevent and make it impossible for the thief to steal," continued the premier.
Makhura, who also spoke of the "new dawn" that has been associated with President Cyril Ramaphosa since he took over the reins of both the ANC and the country, said he accepted that some did not believe that South Africa was finally out of its "nightmare period".
He thanked conference participants for contributing to the idea of a new dawn and providing more clarity on it.
"We have gone through a crisis that we perhaps have still to understand the full implications of. That's why sometimes we are not quite sure if we are emerging from this crisis because of the stain of the crisis," Makhura said.
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