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Johannesburg - Agang SA has proposed a minimum 15-year jail term for corrupt government officials and their counterparts in the private sector.
Party leader Mamphela Ramphele has suggested that the proposed sentence apply even when the amounts involved are small.
“Recent reports suggest that in the 20 years since 1994, over R385 billion has been lost to wasted and irregular spending by successive ANC governments,” said Ramphele.
According to Corruption Watch, a non-profit organisation launched last year, poor people who depend on the government for housing, healthcare, education, security and welfare are more vulnerable to the effects of corruption.
“Delays in infrastructure development, poor building quality and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption,” says the anti-corruption body’s website.
“We must eradicate tenderpreneurs, crooked officials and businessmen. If we don’t change course now, these traitors will take the future of our country,” said Ramphele.
She suggested that public servants found guilty of stealing from the government be banned from public service.
The Agang leader said executives in the private sector should be held liable both personally and professionally if convicted of corruption. “Not only will private sector executives be prosecuted, but also companies in whose employ they are. Companies implicated in corruption will be banned from doing business with the state,” she said.
This came amid suggestions that law enforcement agencies were treating the owners in the construction cartel with kid gloves, despite the companies having being fined more than R1 billion for collusion.
The firms conceded to fixing and inflating prices for infrastructure projects related to the 2010 World Cup.
Ramphele has proposed a national database for convicted public servants, which would be open to public scrutiny, to ensure they were not rehired.
The government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster in June published 42 names of individuals who had been convicted of defrauding the state.
The list showed that, in some instances, the guilty parties got away with relatively light sentences for serious crimes.