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Eastern Cape govt scoffs at corruption report

The Eastern Cape government scoffed on Thursday at a report alleging widespread corruption in the province, claiming the findings by Public Service Accountability Monitor were ”malicious and irresponsible”.

Provincial government representative Manelisi Wolela questioned why the monitor’s report had referred to corruption cases that had been dealt with and to cases where the accused had been acquitted by a

court of law.

”The report can only be described as malicious and irresponsible behaviour.

”The cases cited in the report are not at all related to the objective findings of the research,” he said.

Wolela also attacked media for reporting that the province was corrupt saying: ”The media reports, out of selective morality or due to sheer ignorance, distort even the report about public servants’ opinions.”

He said the report was merely an opinion poll that reflected civil servants’ perceptions of corruption.

The majority of the participants in the report actually acknowledged that the government was willing to eliminate corruption as well as to take steps taken to detect and deal with such the culprits.

”More than ever before, more people know that if they behave unethically there are greater chances of being detected and of decisive action being taken against them, which is the core of any fight against corruption,” Wolela said.

According to the report, as many as 14% of officials said they have been approached by business people offering them bribes.

At least 12% said they have witnessed some of their

colleagues accepting bribes. Twenty-nine per cent said they have witnessed theft of public resources.

Allan, a director at PSAM, said in a statement almost half of Bisho’s officials demonstrated an incomplete understanding of corruption.

He said one in two felt that the acceptance of gifts by public officials in return for their services should not be punishable. The report recommended that the provincial executive council and heads of departments should take steps to ensure that all public officials received training on the definition, identification and social impact of corruption.

The council should also take urgent steps to communicate its intolerance of corruption.

When asked when the report’s recommendations would be

implemented, Wolela said the decision would be taken by the provincial director general. ”I do not know when but hopefully it will be soon.”

The release of the monitor’s report piled more pressure on the Eastern Cape provincial government, already feeling the heat after the resignation of Education MEC Stone Sizani.

At least two others MEC were rumoured to have been asked to step down on instructions from President Thabo Mbeki.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said Premier Makhenkesi Stofile should be fired, and the national government should directly intervene in the running of the province.

”President (Thabo) Mbeki must fire Stofile … at the very least, national government must take over the departments of education, health and social development, in order to ensure that delivery takes place,” he said in a statement.

Referring to an African National Congress executive decision earlier this week to nullify the results of the party’s Eastern Cape leadership elections, Holomisa said this ”confirms the leadership void of the ANC” in the province.

The shock decision set aside the re-election of Stofile as ANC provincial chairman at the party’s provincial congress in Port Elizabeth earlier in November.

Holomisa said his party had warned for many years that

corruption and mismanagement was rife in the region under ANC rule.

”Delivery in education, health and social development has been nearly non-existent, whilst corruption and mismanagement have been the order of the day.” – Sapa

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