The Democratic Alliance (DA) has urged the African National Congress (ANC) to show it is serious about fighting corruption by supporting a DA private member’s bill in Parliament.
DA chief whip Ian Davidson on Wednesday briefed Parliament’s private members’ legislative proposals and special petitions committee on the DA’s bill to regulate the business interests of state employees.
Davidson said the proposed Bill was designed to address the continued scourge of corruption in the public service, which had reached alarming levels in recent years.
Among other things, the measure would prohibit government employees and their families from directly or indirectly holding more than 5% of shares, stock, membership or other interests in an entity that did business with the government, unless approval was given by the relevant minister in accordance with certain criteria set out in the bill.
It would further ensure, according to the DA, that before the government entered into any contract with an entity for the sale, lease or supply of goods and services, the entity should provide an affidavit disclosing whether or not it was owned or part-owned by government employees.
All government employees would be required to disclose their business interests at prescribed intervals, in the same way that members of the Cabinet already did.
Davidson said corruption continued to undermine the effectiveness of the public sector, and remained a serious impediment to service delivery.
According to the 2010 Public Service Report, more than 1 204 financial misconduct cases were reported to the Public Service Commission (PSC) during 2008/09, while 1 430 complaints of corruption were reported through the PSC’s national anti-corruption hotline.
“At the heart of the problem is the continued absence of restrictions on state employees doing business with the state.
“State employees, who have financial interests in companies and then tender for goods and services, have a clear conflict of interest,” he said.
This invited corruption and abuse of state resources, which in turn undermined the fight against poverty.
“If the ANC is serious about joining the DA in its fight against corruption, it must take immediate steps to address the alarming levels of corruption that continue to beset our public service.
“This is the opportunity to do so. If they however opt to use their majority to prevent this bill from proceeding any further than the committee [what they do to each and every other private member’s bill] then the message to South Africans will be clear: the ANC has no real intention to fight corruption in the public service.
“The ball is in their court now and South Africans are watching,” Davidson said. — Sapa