The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Mr Des van Rooyen joined various stakeholders – government, business, academics and NGOs for the launch of the Local Government Anti-Corruption strategy in Bokone Bophirima under a theme – “Breaking the chains of corruption”.
The launch of this strategy is therefore an important milestone that will provide guidance to public servants charged with the responsibility of managing service delivery and the public purse.
The strategy was launched within the backdrop of a plethora of challenges facing municipalities. Local government as a sphere that is closest to our people has the responsibility to lead by example and ensure that it remains relevant and responsive to the needs and wishes of our communities, but due to high incidents of corruption and many other challenges, municipalities finds themselves on the back foot.
Delegates attending the launch, agreed to stand united in their diversity and declared that enough is enough. Speaking at the launch, Minister urged stakeholders those who have not yet begun taking a stand, that the best time was now to lend a hand in the fight against corruption. “The long and painful process to break chains of corruption begins now”, said Minister.
This important launch is the foundation of responsible governance and the delegates who gave the messages of support agreed that without eradicating corruption within society, the challenges associated with it will not end. Citizens were encouraged to assist in fight against corruption in both the public and private sectors so that the country can realise economic transformation and development.
This launch in the Bokone Bophirima coincided with the ongoing work in the province tackling greed, crime and corruption. Building on this key programmes in the province for the current month and from the discussions, it was clear that corruption is responsible for the persisting “triple challenges” facing South Africa – “poverty, inequality and unemployment”. “Inequality is perpetuated and exacerbated as a by-product of poverty which is made worse by the wrong decisions and greed that manifests themselves as corruption”, said Minister.
In our efforts to build a South Africa that we can all be proud of, the National Development Plan (NDP) was adopted as a roadmap towards our development. The NDP has also dedicated content dealing with Corruption especially bearing in mind that we are working towards achieving vision 2030. It suggest that the best means for dealing with corruption is a multi-agency approach with greater cohesion and co-ordination than is at present.
The delegates agreed that indeed corruption a decease that is responsible for crippling and destroying many organisations and stifles their proper functioning, this includes our Municipalities. What was raised is that corruption is a societal problem and everyone should lend a hand in defeating this scourge that has the capability takes over established organisations and strips away equilibrium.
The first step to fighting corruption is the recognition of the problem and then admitting that it does exist. Admitting that it does exist is the first start to tackling this brutal infectious decease. South Africa, like the rest of the world has recognised the that corruption is a problem that should be confronted head on. To this effect, the government has introduced guidelines, frameworks, legislations and a number of key structures that are all ammunition to defeat this scourge. 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 2006 Local Government Anti-corruption strategy served as a solid foundation that is aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption and related offences. The strategy was reviewed in response to specific challenges highlighted by local government stakeholders and it sets out the strategic objectives to be pursued by municipalities in terms of preventing and combating corruption.
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
The strategy also link well with Back to Basics programme which aims to ensure effective and efficient functioning municipalities. To this effect, eradicating corruption is central to B2B which also advocates zero tolerance approach to corruption.
The strategy is also a tool to assist, administer, account and use the public funds in a correct manner in line with our plans. These guidelines will assist officials to attain clean administration at local government level. To this effect, the revised strategy seeks to:
- Provide a holistic and integrated approach to fight corruption at the local government levels;
- Promote prevention, detection, investigation, resolution and public participation as the platform for the strategy;
- Support comprehensive public awareness and civil education, including community participation in the fight against corruption in municipalities;
- Professionalise the local government sector and promote ethical conduct; and
- Promote the integrity of municipal business process, including comprehensive risk management
The launch received a number of support messages. The representative of the university of the North West welcomed the strategy and committed to assist with the implementation. The second message of support came from the Anti crime, anti greed and anti Corruption forum welcomed this tool and pledged support. SALGA also gave it’s message of support welcoming the strategy as an important tool to move us forward. SALGA to continue training and capacitating it’s member’s to better understand and Implement the strategy.
The MEC of Finance, Enterprise and Economic Development (FEED), Mme Wendy Nelson was representing the Premier at the event. She delivered remarks that looked at the Provincial perspective. “The Bokone Bophirima province has no room for corruption and will continue to work hard towards achieving clean governance which is important to realise our developmental goals as set out within the NDP” said MEC Nelson.
The launch of the revised strategy will definitely strengthen the fight against fraud and corruption in municipalities and Minister committed that CoGTA will continue working with all the stakeholders to accelerate implementation of the planned initiatives. The Minister emphasised that through partnerships at national, provincial and local level we can intensify the fight against corruption and the promotion of ethics.
The delegates agreed that it is essential to ensure the corrupt are punished and break the cycle of impunity, or freedom from punishment or loss. Successful enforcement approaches are supported by a strong legal framework, law enforcement branches and an independent and effective court system.
In line with the National Development Plan, our vision for 2030 is a South Africa that has zero tolerance for corruption and Minister urged that 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.
CoGTA Head of Communications
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