Publication: Cape Times Issued: Date: 2004-07-30 Reporter: Editor

Combating Corruption

 

Publication 

Cape Times

Date 2004-07-30

Reporter

The Editor

Web Link

www.capetimes.co.za

 

This week seven Cape Town travel agents were arrested in connection with an alleged scam in which parliament was defrauded of about R13 million.

The merits of these cases - in which MPs were apparently complicit - will be measured in court, but they have served to add to a growing impression that corruption is running rampant in this country.

That might be an unfair impression. The openness that the new order introduced in 1994 is certainly responsible for part of that impression. In other words, the government has, since 1994, been determined to expose corruption, and has done a pretty good job of doing so. That was certainly not the case under apartheid.

Watchdog structures have also been put in place to ensure that corruption within the state is detected and acted against.

To date these have generally worked quite commendably (the recent furore around National Directorate of Public Prosecutions head Bulelani Ngcuka may, of course, test this resolve).

But there is cause for concern. The volume of cases is beginning to mount, and there are some in senior government ranks who are starting to mutter under their breath.

There are concerns that many of the new generation of public representatives and administrators are often not versed in the issues surrounding accountability.

Whether or not this would make such individuals more susceptible to corruption is obviously a moot point, but it does suggest that the country's political leadership needs to point the way.

Senior civil servants, for example, who have have been tardy about declaring potential conflicts of interest should be forced to do so immediately or lose their jobs.

Anything less would serve to tacitly encourage those among us who might be given to venality.

With acknowledgement to the Cape Times.