Unit formed to tackle graft
THE Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has set up an internal unit to tackle corruption in municipalities
Announcing the department's key priorities for the financial year ahead in Parliament yesterday, Nathi Mthethwa, Acting Minister of Cooperative and Traditional Affairs; and his deputy Yunus Carrim said the new unit would tackle what they called "municipal corruption".
The inspectorate to fight fraud and corruption would be based at the department's head office in Pretoria before setting up branches in the provinces over the coming years.
The anti-graft inspectorate, Carrim explained, would work closely with other law enforcement agencies such as the police and the special investigating unit.
"It has three different aspects - the first is to encourage ethical conduct among councillors and officials.
"Secondly, it is to analyse trends of municipal corruption and then help in developing better and more effective strategies to contend with corruption.
"Thirdly, it's to help municipalities and all other agencies like the police, the South African Revenue Service and the like, which are pursuing cases of corruption.
"So to expedite the matter, CoGTA will help municipalities to proceed," Carrim said.
The local government sphere is notorious for serious cases of corruption and fraud.
In the most recent example, the Sunday Times reported that the city of Ethekwini in KwaZulu-Natal had been sitting on a report of an inquiry into tender irregularities at Durban's electricity department.
The report relates to a R11 million contract to rewire the council's flats in Durban South.
The report has implicated high ranking officials in the Ethekwini Metro.
Faced with a high turnover of councillors, Mthethwa also said more than 10,000 municipal councillors who came into office following the recent local government election would soon undergo basic training on functioning of local government.