DEPUTY President Kgalema Motlanthe has steered clear of calling for Parliament's standing committee on public accounts to be given the power to issue arrest warrants for corrupt officials who refuse to appear before it.
Speaking at the 11th annual Association of Public Accounts Committees conference in Cape Town yesterday, Motlanthe said public accounts committees must "propose corrective action and changes" to problematic government departments.
But Uganda's local government accounts committee head Geoffrey Ekanya told the conference that the Ugandan parliament has wide powers over government officials who waste money.
The Ugandan constitution gives parliament high court powers to issue arrest warrants for government officials and ministers who ignore the public accounts committees' summonses to appear before parliament.
Scopa regularly hears about the role of corrupt officials in cases where tens of millions of rands are wasted.
But the watchdog committee is unable to do much more than issue stern warnings to those responsible for wasting money and hope the National Prosecuting Authority will follow up with criminal charges.
Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe yesterday also stopped short of calling for Parliament to be given high court powers.
He said Parliament should consider setting up an institution dedicated to prosecuting corrupt government officials.
Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka was this morning expected to announce the establishment of public accounts committees in all municipalities.