Corruption is the elite’s way to steal from the poor, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“It has become a matter of life and death. Corruption is the biggest threat to the realisation of our dreams,” he told an anti-corruption summit.
“Self-enrichment will unravel the fabric of society.”
Earlier, the summit heard that as many as 1 273 public service officials were charged with misconduct for corrupt activities between September 2004 and June 2011.
During this time, 603 officials were dismissed from the public service, 226 were suspended, 134 were fined and 16 demoted, said National Anti-Corruption Forum chair Futhi Mtoba.
Another 330 officials were given final written warnings, and 190 prosecuted.
Vavi added that up to 20% of government procurement was lost to corruption as officials exploited gaps in the system to procure government tenders.
“We are facing a nightmare future in South Africa … people are systematically using their power to secure … parts of society.”
He said if the current economic system of capitalism continued with the “me first” mentality, it would be difficult to root out corruption.
“The culture of ‘me first’ accumulates and accumulates that one person in this country earns R627-million per year… while workers earn less than R1 500 per month,” said Vavi.
On Thursday morning Sowetan reported that Vavi had been appointed as a board member of parastatal Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
“I hope to put on the table [a] decent work agenda. I am hopeful the board will support enterprises that will create jobs,” Vavi told the newspaper.
“IDC is tasked by government to create more jobs.”
Vavi would retain his position at the trade union federation while serving the corporation. — Sapa