Gauteng’s fight against corruption

Mduduzi Mbada says David Makhura's administration believes integrity should characterise its decision making process

Gauteng government intensifies fight against corruption, promotes good governance

Corruption is responsible for poor service delivery, it degrades the fibre of society and reduces trust in government. There is no doubt that corruption remains one of the most significant challenges to good governance, sustainable economic growth, peace, stability and development.

In response to building a corrupt free government that has integrity, the fifth administration of Gauteng, under the leadership of Premier David Makhura, took a decision to eradicate corruption among public officials, public servants, including in the private sector and in society.

This act by the fifth administration is self-imposed and self-accepted, because there is a shared sense that integrity should characterise the decision-making process of the fifth administration.

This meant strengthening the integrity of public institutions and public processes so that fraud and corruption are prevented and detected early in the value chain to prevent losses. This also meant ensuring that these processes are open to the public and are transparent. It meant introducing ethics, which is about making right decisions for the good of the people. This must at all material times define a government, which in accordance with the Freedom Charter, it is premised on the will of the people.

It is for this reason, that Gauteng government has been working closely with key institutions to fight corruption and build ethics and integrity across society, such as the Special Investigation Unit, the Public Service Commission, the Integrity Commissioner of the Legislature and Chapter 9 and 10 institutions to strengthen clean governance and enhance integrity. This is a commitment of going beyond just talking about corruption. We are acting against corruption across society.

This act is based on a firm conviction that it is possible to build a future free from corruption. To achieve this, we require strong and transformative partnerships. Hence the appointment of the civil society-led Gauteng Ethics and Anti-Corruption Advisory Council to build a corrupt free society.

Since then, there has been significant success in building integrity and a corrupt free government. This is a result of taking decisive steps by introducing specific measures to strengthen good governance and enhance integrity in Gauteng.

Firstly, by introducing regulations and measures to prevent public servants or public officials from doing business with government and ensure that public servants declare their interests.

Secondly, Gauteng government introduced greater transparency, public scrutiny and public accountability through the Open Tender procurement system. The new approach to transparency in the Open Tender process was piloted in the Department of Treasury and the Department of Roads and Transport, it is now practiced across provincial departments.

Thirdly, government invested in acquiring capacity to monitor the pricing of materials, goods and other items we procure to expose any potential collusion amongst private sector companies, especially in the construction sector and food industry where government and ordinary citizens are often exposed to price fixing.

In this regard, we want to work even closer with the Competition Commission so that government takes its role in ensuring equity for its citizens.

Fourthly, we want to black-list, publicly expose and prosecute all businesses that are involved in acts of bribery and corruption. Lastly, we have strengthened civilian oversight on the law enforcement agencies with a specific focus on stemming out corruption and removing corrupt officials.

As part of integrity promotion across the Gauteng City Region, we have now established integrity management unit in the office of the Premier to ensure the above measures are implemented to prevent corruption and promote integrity in government.

Equally, municipalities are also implementing anti-corruption strategies and fraud prevention plans. This includes the establishment of Ethics Committees in all municipalities.

Promotion of integrity is essential in building good governance and it is also aimed at reducing leakages in the system to ensure that public resources are spent efficiently and wisely for the benefit of the people.

To further strengthen the fight against corruption, the Executive Council has approved a strict regime of anti-corruption and integrity guidelines that will ensure that we have clean governance and administration.

These measures include the appointment of a civil society-led Integrity Promotion and Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee which will be chaired by a retired judge. The role of the committee will be to vigorously enforce the guidelines and promote clean governance in our province.

Furthermore, as part of demonstrating Gauteng’s commitment to clean government, disciplinary proceedings against 125 officials who were involved in financial misconduct have been instituted. To date, two Heads of Department have been dismissed for serious acts of misconduct.

Although a lot has been done to fight corruption in Gauteng, we are not resting on our laurels because there is a huge number of cases that still need to be resolved.

Mduduzi Mbada is the Special Advisor to Premier David Makhura, on Policy and Governance.