New anti-corruption team established

The Cabinet on Wednesday announced a new anti-corruption ministerial team, warning that it will act strongly to root out public-sector graft.

”The South African government takes strong exception to corrupt practices and regards the matter very seriously because of the potential damage that this could cause to the country’s reputation globally,” said a Cabinet statement.

South Africa on Tuesday ranked 55 of 180 countries on Transparency International’s annual index, scoring 4,7 points on a range from zero, highly corrupt, to 10, very clean. Somalia was bottom at number 180 with 1,1 points.

”We want to deal decisively with the perception that corruption is on the rise in the country,” Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko told reporters in Cape Town.

Maseko said it was proof of a commitment by the government to make sure corruption is ”nipped in the bud”.

He said the committee would look at the Public Service Commission’s report on corruption and other reports to ensure action was taken against all persons involved in corrupt practices involving public funds.

He said the government wanted to give the public an undertaking that it was acting upon promises made, among others by President Jacob Zuma in his first State of the Nation address in May, to tackle corruption.

”We wanted to give the nation a very concrete idea as to what this government is prepared to do.

”If government does not take decisive action it will continue and permeate all aspects of South African life.”

The committee would be chaired by the Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane. Other members would include the ministers of public service and administration, national treasury, local government, social development, and representatives from the security cluster.

The inter-ministerial committee will act against all individuals involved in public-finance graft, the Cabinet said, also condemning private companies that paid bribes to officials.

”Government warns all state employees that strong action will be taken against anyone involved in corrupt practices,” it added.

The committee will present a report and action plan in January. — AFP, Sapa

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