With corruption spiralling out of control, depriving communities countrywide of basic services they are entitled to, every move aimed at bringing the scourge to a halt should be supported.
ALSO READ: Withdraw the charges, Gordhan invites NPA
One of these measures is the announcement by Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi that public officials would be barred from doing business with the state. Such officials would face arrest from February next year.
Another welcome move is the plan to lay criminal charges against officials found to have acted in contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, which regulates the management of finances in three tiers of government. It also governs the management of finances in state-owned entities.
The act also establishes the duties and responsibilities of government officials in charge of finances. It aims to secure transparency, accountability and sound financial management in government and public institutions.
This is a very significant development considering the widespread reckless abuse of public resources, a cancer that has led to the dysfunctional state of many national and provincial departments, parastatals, and scores of municipalities.
The only reason why corruption thrives is that government is good at coming up with plans and proposals while dragging its feet to implement them. What Ramatlhodi announced this week was a law initiated in 2013 by current Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu while she was public service and administration minister.
Why it is taking so long to be promulgated could be described by some as a “mystery”. The same can be said about the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Amendment Bill which has been gathering dust on President Jacob Zuma’s desk, awaiting his signature.
The bill is aimed at monitoring the transactions of politicians, their family members and other politically connected individuals in the private sector. The bill has gone through the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces but Zuma is dragging his feet signing it, saying he is considering objections to it.
This attitude points to one problem only. We have more than sufficient pieces of legislation and independent institutions to help us eradicate graft. Regrettably there is no political will at all to use these efficiently.
In the meantime, raiding of the public purse continues with impunity.