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Johannesburg - Opposition parties blamed government on Thursday for high levels of corruption in the country.
Strong action was needed, Democratic Alliance spokesman Mmusi Maimane told a Black Management Forum (BMF) good governance conference at Midrand.
“The rot has set in at the top and will move to the bottom,” he said.
Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said citizens needed to raise the bar of their expectations of leaders.
“Today, 20 years into our freedom, we simply have not gone far enough and fast enough for the majority of citizens,” she said.
“People don't have trust in this government.”
Maimane and Ramphele were taking part in a debate on whether good governance could increase trust among government, civil society, labour, and business.
They were joined by United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, African People's Convention leader Themba Godi, and National Freedom Party secretary general Nhlanhla Khubisa.
The African National Congress was supposed to be represented by secretary general Gwede Mantashe, but just before the debate started it was announced that the BMF was still waiting for confirmation from him.
National Union of Metalworkers of SA general secretary Irvin Jim was also scheduled to be part of the debate, but was not present.
Holomisa said he believed tenders were at the heart of corruption in the country.
“There is an increasing number of political directives on how to award tenders,” he said.
“We need to reverse this trend. We need to restore the decision making power to accounting officers.”
Holomisa said allegations of corruption in institutions such as the Independent Electoral Commission and the presidency hampered the country.
Godi said it was clear the country was grappling with governance problems. Problems relating to financial management were serious.
Khubisa listed the principles of good governance which included financial accountability, participation, and transparency.
“In South Africa there is a lot of corruption, money is being squandered day in and day out. It is high time we exercise principles of good governance in our country.”