Today (06 March), Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize attended the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for the first time since he took over as a Minister of this portfolio in February 2018. The Ministry of CoGTA was briefing the committee about the status of local government forensic investigation reports.
Briefing the honorable members of the committee, Minister Mkhize reaffirmed the constitutional principles of cooperative governance – across the spheres of government â€“ of which he said were distinctive, interrelated and interdependent.
He also assured the committee of the department’s commitment to address local government issues, especially those that are dysfunctional, bankrupt municipalities where good governance strategies would be implemented to turn their situation around. â€œWe need to embrace the current spirit of renewed hope by ensuring that municipalities take care of the basics in a meaningful and impactful manner.
Fighting corruption is a priority because it is when we defeat this social scourge that we can ensure our people receive quality services at local government level,â€ said Minister Mkhize.
The Minister updated the committee about the status of forensic investigations in local government and said a number of investigations were commissioned following allegations of corruption and related offences by municipal officials. Thus far, the ministry has assessed 110 forensic reports out of 120 it has received from provinces and municipalities.
The committee was apprised of the existence of a database on dismissed staff members which also records all pending disciplinary cases against municipal staff members. All municipalities are obliged by law to screen all prospective employees against this database to ensure that all staff members found guilty of transgression are not employed in the sector for a specified period as prescribed in the regulations.
The failure by municipalities to implement resolutions emanating from forensic reports remained a matter of concern as CoGTA did not have technical powers to prosecute the alleged perpatrators. However, Minister assured the committee that where there was missing information, the ministry went out of its way to obtain details about such cases.
According to the most recent records of municipal employeesâ€™ conduct:
- One thousand two hundred and sixty four (1264) employees have been dismissed.
- There are 290 cases of alleged financial misconduct, corruption and fraud.
- One thousand four hundred and forty six (1446) municipal employees have been found to have breached the code of conduct.
- One hundred and twenty seven (127) municipal employees have resigned prior to the finalisation of their disciplinary proceedings.
- Out of a 500 cases, across different categories, only 277 cases have not been finalised.
â€œThe triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality cannot be dealt with if the scourge of corruption remains unchecked. The cancer of corruption has far reaching consequences, this is why COGTA is committed to eradicate this monster.â€
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