“Fraud and corruption is a temporary illness, it is a temporary excitement, it is indeed a temporary power of control, because if you have money, especially the people that get it very easily will indeed have power and if you have power you are going to be able control everybody, but that control is temporary because everything has a beginning and an ending.”
These are the words of Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, who was speaking at the anti- corruption seminar held on Monday 9 December 2019, at Pacofs in commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day.
Ntombela addressed delegates which included various members of council, government officials as well as various stakeholders, reminding them of the impact of fraud and corruption on service delivery.
“It cannot be right that our people are promised houses and yet we cannot deliver. 15 months left before local government elections, we’ll be making a lot of noise and yet some of the houses are not there. It cannot be right that our people are promised infrastructure and yet the projects are not being finished because of corruption,” she added.
Free State Finance MEC, Gadija Brown, added that the challenge faced by the public sector is consequence management. “If you are in the food industry and you steal meat to feed your family and you are caught, you will dismissed. If you work in a factory and there is stock theft and you are caught, you will be dismissed. The challenge that we have in the public sector is if it has been identified and you are suspected of any fraud or corruption you are suspended with pay,” said Brown.
“You receive your salary every month, you go through an investigation, you find ways to deter the court because you are sick, in hospital, whatever it may be to extend that and by the time that we have to deal with judiciary process you have resigned from the organisation. So are we effectively dealing with fraud and corruption?” she continued.
Brown said that she has found that systems in government, from a policy perspective, prevent them as authorities to make those harsh decisions.
“Let us say no to corruption, every no counts and let us build the Free State we want,” concluded Brown.