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Justice minister Ronald Lamola says of more than 500 people convicted of corruption in the past financial year, 380 were government officials and 209 private-sector individuals. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Justice minister Ronald Lamola says of more than 500 people convicted of corruption in the past financial year, 380 were government officials and 209 private-sector individuals. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

More than 500 people, most of them government officials, were convicted of corruption in the past financial year, says minister of justice and correctional services Ronald Lamola.

Lamola was speaking at this year’s corruption summit in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

“This number comprises 380 convictions of government officials and 209 convictions of individuals in the private sector.

“Most of these cases focus on corruption in government departments and critical state-owned enterprises (SEOs). Former CEOs, board chairs, heads of departments, as well as high-flying business people have been charged.”

Lamola added that the NPA had a 93.8% conviction rate in intimate-partner femicide prosecutions.

“We have also taken a step to ensure it is not just convictions we report on, but the number of cases finalised. The work of the SIU in this regard is well documented ... from PPE to maladministration in various government departments.

“We are also now able to develop and populate a database that tracks and monitors the finalisation of femicide, child murder and crimes affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexed (LGBTQI+) people,” he said.

Work was under way to strengthen legislation and other measures to protect whistle-blowers, said the minister.

Constitutional Court justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga echoed Lamola’s sentiments on the need to urgently root out corruption, while focusing on government procurement.

Painting a picture of erosion of the rule of law, he gave an anecdote from his childhood, in which community leaders used available resources to sustain their people.

Today, for the smallest road maintenance works, we go out to tender, generally at a huge cost. Of course, some may argue this is prudent. Government must not procure goods and services from the private sector when it’s not necessary.
Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga

“They operated government-owned graders and constantly maintained the gravel roads in my village and surrounding areas. We no longer have those graders. I would be surprised if the discontinuance of this service is not true of other areas in the country.

“Today, for the smallest road-maintenance works, we go out to tender, generally at a huge cost. Of course, some may argue this is prudent. Government must not procure goods and services from the private sector when it’s not necessary.

“Corruption needs to be curtailed,” he said.

Madlanga said when an organ of state contracted goods and services, it must do so in a transparent, fair and competitive manner, as these were meant to improve people’s lives.

“The judiciary ... can only deal with corruption issues when they are brought to court. It’s a trickle.

“Corruption manifests in different, but sometimes related, ways. It’s a key element in economic underperformance. No effort should be spared to ensure this scourge is rooted out,” he said.

TimesLIVE

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