17 February 2014
Centralising the government’s tender system will go a long way towards rooting out corruption in South Africa’s public service, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.
Speaking in an interview with national television, Zuma said the fight against corruption would be better won when there was a central board in place to deal with all tenders. It would also make it easier to police corrupt officials.
In his State of the Nation address last Thursday, Zuma said a central tender board would be established to adjudicate tenders in all spheres of government. The board, he said, will work with the chief procurement officer, whose main function would be to check on pricing and adherence to procedures as well as fairness.
“The problem is that if you spread the tender system across all spheres of government, you have got too many fingers everywhere. It is difficult to control that,” Zuma told the SABC on Sunday.
Zuma said the problem with having too many panels deciding on their own tenders was that it exposed the system to infiltration by corrupt officials, which often led to people in the entire tender system being perceived to be corrupt.
With the new system, corruption, if it occurred, would be limited to one board and relatively easy to investigate.
Anti-corruption hotline ‘yielding results’
In his State of the Nation address, Zuma said the campaign to clamp down on corruption in South Africa’ public service was yielding results.
“Since the launch of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline by the Public Service Commission, over 13 000 cases of corruption and maladministration have been referred to government departments for further handling and investigation,” Zuma said.
Through the hotline, more than R320-million rand had been recovered from perpetrators, 1 542 officials had been dismissed from the public service and 204 officials prosecuted, Zuma reported.
At the same time, the police’s Special Investigating Unit was busy investigating maladministration or alleged corruption in a number of government departments and state entities, through 40 proclamations signed by Zuma since 2009.
“We will keep the public informed of the outcome of the investigations,” Zuma said.
In the first six months of last year, he added, the state’s Asset Forfeiture Unit had paid a total of R149-million into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account and to the victims of crime.
“This is 170% above its target of R55-million and is higher than it has ever achieved in a full year.”
Regarding corruption in the private sector, Zuma noted that the country’s competition authorities had investigated large-scale price fixing in the construction industry last year and fined guilty companies R1.4-billion.