Minister Des van Rooyen’s Speech at the Launch of the Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy

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ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER OF COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFARIS, MR DES VAN ROOYEN at the

LAUNCH OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGY,

18 November 2017,

Tlokwe

 

Programme Director,

Premier of the North West, Comrade Supra Mahumapelo,

MECs

Executive Mayors and Mayors,

Councillors,

District Mayor, Ms Barei Mosiane-Segotso,

Local Mayor, Kgotso Khumalo,

Cogta Head of Department, Mr PE Motoko,

Vice Chancellor of North West University, Kgwadi (NWU),

Anti-Corruption Forum Representative, Rev Mpa,

Government officials,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Greetings,

 

I am honoured to address you at this important event.

 

We have gathered here today to launch the revised Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy.

 

The 2006 Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy laid the foundation regarding the fight against corruption in municipalities.

 

We are grateful to the Province for agreeing to host this event and for collaborating with my team to ensure the success of this event.

 

Re a leboga.

 

Premier, I commend you on the Setsokotsane Campaign being driven in this province every month, focusing on a wide range of issues.

 

Most of you will agree with me that allegations of fraud, corruption and related offences have been occupying the public discourse for quite some time.

 

Practitioners, scholars and ordinary members of the public have different views on how to prevent and combat corruption in general.

 

However, we all agree that corruption is a societal problem and one that hampers service delivery.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allegations of corruption, the prevalence of an unethical culture and the lack of consequences for wrongdoing in municipalities remains a matter of concern for all of us.

 

We hope that this strategy will contribute towards the reduction of incidents of corruption in our municipalities.

 

Government has prioritised the fight against corruption and the promotion of ethics.

 

The National Development Plan sets out our vision with regard to preventing and combating corruption.

 

The country has some of the best policies and legislation and has also established proper structures to prevent and combat corruption.

 

Furthermore, South Africa is a signatory to various international conventions and treaties that commit the country to implementing a range of interventions aimed at reducing corruption.

 

Despite all these interventions, corruption still remains a challenge.

 

The Department identified the need to review the 2006 Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy and also introduced the Municipal Integrity Management Framework with the emphasis on the promotion of integrity.

 

This was done as a way of strengthening the fight against corruption and related offences in municipalities. The Strategy was reviewed through a collaborative effort with stakeholders at national, provincial and local level.

 

The Strategy sets out the strategic objectives to be pursued by municipalities in terms of preventing and combating corruption.

 

The Strategy is premised on the 3 broad strategic objectives:

 

  • Promoting community ownership
  • Strengthening municipalities resilience against corruption
  • Building trust and accountability through effective investigation and resolution

 

Central to the Back to Basics programme is a zero tolerance approach to corruption and related offences in municipalities.

 

The Department is rolling out the training programme in municipalities on the Strategy and the Municipal Integrity Management Framework.

 

Thus far, the training programme has been rolled out in 10 District municipalities and more than 200 officials have been trained in the strategy.

 

Amongst others, Section 57A of the Local Government Municipal Systems Act of 2000, as amended in 2011 prescribes, that any staff member who is dismissed for financial misconduct, as contemplated in section 171 of the Municipal Finance Management Act, corruption or fraud may only be re-employed in any municipality after the expiry of a period of 10 years.

 

Let that serve as a warning for those who may think that they can get away with corruption.

 

In terms of statistics, a total of 1651 officials were dismissed for misconduct and 130 resigned prior to finalisation of disciplinary proceedings since amendment of the Municipal Systems Act in 2011.

 

The Department is working with provinces and municipalities to ensure the implementation of recommendations emanating from forensic reports.

 

Most of the forensic reports commissioned made recommendations that certain remedial or other corrective measures should be taken.

 

However, in some instances municipalities have failed to implement resolutions emanating from these reports.

 

Let me also take this opportunity to request municipalities to submit copies of forensic reports commissioned.

 

Ethics Committees, Ethics Champions and Ethics Officers should be supported to drive ethics programme in municipalities.

 

This is an essential element of the programme.

 

Until we inculcate and create awareness within and among individuals, no amount of programmes and policies will prevent corruption.

 

Today marks the last day of the International Fraud Awareness Week.

It therefore makes perfect sense to launch the revised Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy on this day.

 

We join the global community in raising awareness on fraud and encourage conversations on how we can prevent it.

 

Although there are other factors, corruption remains one of the triggers why communities take to the streets over the looting of public resources meant to uplift them.

 

Amongst others, the vision of the strategy is to ensure a Local Government where leadership is unquestionably committed to high ethical standards, service delivery and good governance.

 

The National Development Plan also advocates for leadership, which is devoted and dedicated, capable and committed, and self-sacrificial and not self-serving.

 

As a country, we need a national conversation about the qualities of leadership that are required in all areas of public life.

 

Governments, Business and Civil society throughout the world will be taking part in activities to demonstrate their commitment to prevent and combat corruption in all its forms and declare their commitment to a fairer and more transparent world.

 

Despite a number of interventions, which have been put in place, corruption still remains one of the challenges threatening our young democracy.

 

Therefore, Ladies and Gentleman I am sure you will agree with me that this is the perfect platform for us to reflect as a country and pave the way forward.

 

I am aware of the processes currently underway being led by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on corruption to develop a National Strategy for the whole country.

 

All of us should contribute towards the development of such a strategy.

 

An ethical organisational culture is crucial to ensure that success with regard to implementation of the strategy.

 

We must be able to identify practical things that we can do in the short, medium and long term.

 

In line with the strategy, I expect every municipality to identify Ethics Officers and Ethics Champions.

These are men and women who will drive the anti-corruption gospel in municipalities throughout the province.

Ethics Committees must also be in place.

Municipalities must ensure that allegations of corruption and related offences are investigated and perpetrators are held accountable.

 

In instances where there is no capacity for investigations, explore ways of partnerships with law enforcement agencies, the province and the national department.

 

We are confident that slowly but surely, through hard work and partnerships with all the stakeholders, we can intensify the fight against corruption and the promotion of ethics in municipalities.

 

In line with the National Development Plan, our vision for 2030 is a South Africa that has zero tolerance for corruption.

 

We all have a role to play to ensure the attainment of this vision.

 

Let us all speak in one voice and say “NO” to corruption in all its forms and manifestations in our municipalities.

 

I thank you.