The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) joined Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Deputy Minister, Andries Nel, the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela and other distinguished guests at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) 2013 Anti-Corruption Summit in Cape Town, today.
IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen, opened today’s proceedings with a message of support. “Corruption can take various forms including bribery, extortion, embezzlement, nepotism and patronage systems. While no country in the world is immune to corruption, for developing countries such as South Africa, the effects are far more destructive. The International Corruption Index indicates that the level of corruption in South Africa has worsened over the past three years, out of 176 countries that were surveyed, we are currently placed as the 69th most corrupt country in the world,” explained Koen.
IMATU realises that corruption is not only a contributing factor to economic under performance, but it also poses a threat to poverty alleviation and development. Corruption in local government does not just steal money from where it is needed the most, but it leads to weak governance, failing infrastructure and poor service delivery.
The theme for this year’s summit is Local Government Leading the Fight against Corruption and Maladministration.
“There are many things that we as individuals and organisations can do to strengthen the fight against fraud and corruption. We need to look at effectively implementing existing anti-corruption legislation, in this regard, whistle blowing legislation appears to be ineffective. Anti-corruption efforts and campaigns must be strengthened and improved. Controls need to be tightened throughout the supply chain. We need to create a coordinated approach to identifying and effectively dealing with the sources of maladministration and corruption and employees convicted of fraudulent or corrupt activities must receive harsh penalties,” stated Koen.
Preventing and combating corruption requires a wide-ranging approach, but only in a climate of transparency, accountability and participation by all members of society is this possible. Local Government, organised business, organised labour, the media and the public need to work together to effectively address the plague of corruption and maladministration.
“We trust that this summit will generate plausible solutions to the increasing problems of corruption and maladministration. Through interactive discussions, inclusive debates and coordinated action, IMATU believes that the Local Government sector can identify, address and eventually eliminate both the act of corruption as well as those who are convicted of fraudulent or corrupt activities,” concluded Koen.