"Corruption has to be urgently addressed, otherwise it could bring the economy to its knees"
THE INKATHA Freedom Party has renewed its call for the establishment of a special corruption court, saying the legal system must make the cost of being convicted for corruption prohibitively expensive for perpetrators.
The culture of corruption has grown roots in society at large and become endemic, IFP MPL and education spokesperson Thembeni Madlopha Mthethwa said in a statement.
“The IFP therefore calls for government to do the right thing by establishing a special corruption court, which has been repeatedly proposed by the IFP over the past few years,” she said on Sunday.
The IFP’s call followed the suspension of four managers in the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department for alleged involvement in corruption related to the distribution of sanitary towels in schools in the province.
“The HOD (head of department) was allegedly the accounting officer – if he is guilty like the other accused, he must also be held accountable. Heads must roll in this matter,” Mthethwa said.
The IFP said it welcomed the suspension of these managers. However, there was nothing to celebrate as no one had yet been arrested. T
It said that this matter exposed massive corruption and a careless spending culture in total disregard of existing procurement regulations, even as the clamour for more cash continued. The haemorrhaging of public funds would do enormous damage to the country’s already struggling economy.
“The IFP wants to see corrupt people arrested, not just hear lip-service and rhetoric. Actions speak louder than words. There are many investigations that have been conducted in KZN government departments, but to date, no one has been arrested. That is why we will only praise the MEC once the people who are involved in corruption are arrested,” she said.
The IFP therefore believed that the country needed a specialised corruption court, which could deal with various allegations related to transgressions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and other National Treasury regulations, as well as auditor-general findings. The court could fast-track these cases to ensure that justice was served swiftly.
Corruption in the province, it said, had to be urgently addressed, otherwise it could bring the economy to its knees.
“The IFP believes that the South African legal system must make the cost of being convicted for corruption prohibitively expensive for perpetrators, through the imposition of stiff fines, and mandatory jail sentences. The law must be reviewed to ensure that those convicted of economic crimes suffer lasting embarrassment and the greatest possible financial loss,” Mthethwa said.
Strict standards of ethical conduct could also be imposed on anyone seeking public office. This would entail full disclosure of the sources of campaign funds, public declarations of wealth and lifestyle audits, and enforcement of voter anti-bribery legislation.
– African News Agency (ANA)