‘Govt, Zuma committed to graft fight’
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Cape Town - The government, particularly President Jacob Zuma, has a firm commitment to fight corruption, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Wednesday at the first of what will become a weekly media briefing.
“Government is pleased to the announce great progress it is making in dealing with corruption in state institutions,” Radebe said, amid increasing pressure on the president over state spending on his private home in Nkandla.
Radebe reiterated that since taking office in 2009, Zuma has signed 36 proclamations authorising the Special Investigating Unit to probe maladministration and fraud in state entities.
“This is a clear demonstration by government, particularly President Jacob Zuma, in rooting out corruption in government,” added the minister, who chairs the new inter-ministerial committee on information and publicity.
Radebe said the committee had become the “overall centre” of information emanating from government and would also oversee the Government Information and Communication Service, Brand SA, Proudly South African and Tourism SA.
When Zuma announced his new Cabinet at the end of May, these entities and functions were initially allocated to the communications ministry, headed by Faith Muthambi.
Asked whether the government's anti-corruption efforts were not undermined by perceptions that Zuma was eluding graft charges related to the 1999 arms deal as well as responsibility for excessive spending at Nkandla, Radebe said this was not the case.
“Perceptions are perceptions, but I am not aware that anybody, including the president, in government is dodging because no-one is above the law,” he said.
“We work in accordance with the Constitution and the laws that the people of South Africa through Parliament have been able to promulgate.”
Radebe said the state's anti-corruption task team had in some cases exceeded its targets. In the past financial year, it detected 548 allegations of serious corruption, against a target of 300.
It was currently investigating 828 people on serious corruption charges involving more than R5 million.
He said while government was pleased with the results, the figures also attested to the worrying extent of corruption.
Radebe said the government was frustrated at the delays in dealing with corrupt officials, and Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane was looking “at innovative ways of speeding up disciplinary cases”.
“It is a matter of great concern....There is a lot of backlog as we speak. People have got rights so sometimes it takes a long time for the processes to be concluded.”