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Government officials ‘have a duty to expose corruption’, says expert

Former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi at a press briefing.

Former safety and security minister Sydney Mufamadi. File Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency

Published May 29, 2023


Durban - Political analyst Dr Oscar van Heerden said that if there was some truth in allegations of corrupt practices by a minister, then the president was duty bound to ask law enforcement officials to investigate.

Van Heerden made reference to National Security Advisor Professor Sydney Mufamadi’s confirmation to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) last week that former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter mentioned the names of politicians allegedly involved in corruption at Eskom during a meeting that included the minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.

Mufamadi confirmed he was present at a meeting that was held in De Ruyter’s office in July last year, where De Ruyter mentioned a high-ranking office bearer.

When asked about the names of the politicians, Mufamadi refused to name them, saying de Ruyter had given the information to them.

Mufamadi said it was a formal meeting that he had attended with De Ruyter, Gordhan and the latter’s adviser.

“What was said to us was enough to give advice that De Ruyter must interact with law enforcement agencies. I did say from the Presidency we will make sure should law enforcement agencies need support from the Presidency, as they do their work, such support will be forthcoming.

“After that meeting I spoke to the National Commissioner of the SAPS. I found that the police were ahead of the curve because the matters were raised of alleged criminality in power stations in Mpumalanga. The national commissioner said ‘I am in contact with De Ruyter,’” Mufamadi said .

Van Heerden said the first principle in fighting corruption was transparency.

“We cannot be transparent if we do not know what is happening and who is involved. Then already we are facing an uphill battle in the fight against corruption. These names need to be mentioned and we need to know who is involved.

“The reason why there is hesitancy on the part of someone like Mufamadi is that people can easily make allegations which are not substantiated, evidence is not provided and then you expose these names which in itself is unfair to certain individuals.

“You want to make sure if there is sufficient evidence, that's why there is some hesitancy.”

Van Heerden told the SABC that if an employer finds officials are corrupt and are involved in malfeasance, the onus is indeed on those who want to make the accusation to present the evidence.

”If you are being told as an official of the government of the wrongdoing of colleagues, then it is incumbent on you to look at the matter very closely and that you report it to the relevant structures.

“The president should have been informed, the Cabinet should have been alerted. You are duty bound, when people report malfeasance and corruption, to act on it,” Van Heerden said.