Government’s hollow stance on corruption

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FINALLY big spender Gauteng MEC for local government and housing Humphrey Mmemezi has lost his job after much pressure from the media and his party, the ANC.

Mmemezi was this week forced to call it quits as the ANC and the Gauteng legislature closed in on him.

A three-pronged probe into his misuse of the government-issued credit card by the ANC in Gauteng, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and the legislature’s integrity commissioner Dr Ralph Mgijima, found that he had conducted himself improperly while holding public office.

What is startling – and leads to more questions than answers – is the fact that Mmemezi has kept his seat in the legislature where he will be making the same laws that he has failed to uphold.

This suggests that the governing party’s stance on corruption is a hollow one, set to hoodwink the unsuspecting voting public.

Mmemezi has blamed departmental officials for “wrong advice” as well as the infamous Ministerial Handbook.

But does he want the taxpayers to believe that he was so naive so as not to be able to tell the difference between personal and business spending in spite of his high profile position? If he could not fathom such a simple issue, how did he make sense of law-making for two crucial departments in the province?

What is clear is that he acted with impunity believing he was above reproach and probably thinking that his party would shield him from scrutiny.

The fact that he still believes he was not entirely wrong suggests that, had he not been forced to quit, Mmemezi would have gleefully continued in his post and perhaps continued to loot the public purse unhindered.

The trend in which public representatives caught on the wrong side of the law steadfastly cling to their positions is a worrying one – and something the ruling party must work to eradicate if confidence in the nation’s leaders is to be boosted.

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