Govt ‘clueless’ on corruption

By Time of article published Oct 28, 2010

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The government has no knowledge of what has happened to at least two thirds of cases reported to its National Anti-Corruption Hotline during the past six years, the Public Service Commission said on Thursday.

Over the six-year period 7529 cases were reported to the hotline, but there had been feedback on only 2717 cases, according to the 9th State of the Public Service Report released in Pretoria.

This meant that for every 100 cases reported, the PSC had received feedback from the department concerned on only 36. It did not know about the other 64.

“The mere provision of feedback to the PSC does not necessarily suggest that allegations have been investigated and that the cases have been closed, but at least it allows the PSC (and the whistleblowers) to have a sense of the progress being made,” the report reads.

According to the report in 2009/10 there had been 1430

corruption cases reported to the hotline. There had been feedback to the PSC on only 150 of these, little more than 10 percent.

The feedback varied across the country. The Western Cape had the highest figure, at 70 percent.

The anti-corruption hotline was established in 2004.

The report also revealed that cases of financial misconduct by public officials reported to the PSC soared from 434 reported in the 2001/02 financial year to 1204 in 2009/10.

Concerns over the performance assessment of senior government officials were also raised in the report. Almost half of all heads of government departments had not had their performance evaluated, despite being in charge of an estimated R250 billion of taxpayer's money annually.

PSC chairman Dr Ralph Mgijima was “appalled” by the low rate of compliance when it came to evaluating HODs.

“Time and time again we report on this and we are not getting any improvement,” he told reporters.

“We are greatly appalled as you are. It needs to be improved.”

Only 51 percent of HODs had had their performances evaluated by the end of March 2010, down from 56 percent the previous year.

By law all HODs had to be evaluated annually. The Western Cape and North West were the only provinces that had achieved close to 100 percent compliance.

Mgijima said there needed to be greater transparency in providing the public with timely information.

Asked how the government's proposed Protection of Information Bill would impact this transparency, he said the bill would “pose challenges” to the government's outcomes approach.

“Information becomes critical in monitoring,” he said.

He said that many of the policies that had been implemented were correct, but the actual implementation and compliance with regulations was problematic. - Sapa

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