Mec declares war on corrupt officials

KwaZulu-Natal local government and traditional affairs MEC Willies Mchunu has vowed to clamp down on corruption in his department and in all municipalities.

He was addressing local government officials and business representatives in Durban yesterday morning.

"I appeal to all those who are languishing in perpetual guilt for the way they have abused taxpayers' money to desist."

He said corruption siphons funds and depletes resources earmarked for the poor.

"We will continue to act on information coming through our municipal anti-corruption hotline.

The partnership that has been sealed between, and among our National Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the new Crime Fighting Unit, the Hawks and the Auditor-General will strengthen our efforts to deal decisively with all manifestations of corruption."

On improving service delivery, Mchunu said he will undertake an urgent assessment to determine the true state of all municipalities in the province.

He said the establishment of the Municipal Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) in all municipalities was at an advanced stage. He said SCOPA's role will be to enhance public scrutiny and accountability.

Commenting on the escalating service delivery protests in the province, Mchunu said: "We view these service delivery protesters as voices of exclusion, as opposed to the voices of dissent.

"Our people are increasingly on the streets not because it is fashionable but as a result of their perception that their voices are not being heard in the public policy at the local level.

"These protests result in a number of economic development projects stalling - simply because of this persistent perception of lack of consultation."