new dg is out to fight graft

THE new director-general of KwaZulu-Natal, Nhlanhla Ngidi, says he has "hit the ground running" as his appointment came just days before the start of the Fifa World Cup.

Ngidi, who took office earlier this month, said yesterday that the appointment came during one of South Africa's most hectic periods.

"KwaZulu-Natal is using the World Cup to market the province internationally. There are a number of meetings with high-profile people who have come to watch the tournament. This means that this is a very busy period for the provincial administration," he said.

The former Scorpions official, whose appointment was resisted by opposition parties who labelled it a "cadre deployment" because of his previous links with the ANC, has vehemently chastised his critics.

"I believe that I have been appointed because of my qualifications, skills and experience. My CV shows that I have occupied a number of high-profile posts, including being a member of the provincial legislature, the head of crime analysis division in the Scorpions, and the Sassa regional executive manager."

Ngidi, an attorney by profession, said he underwent a stringent competency assessment by an independent and politically non-aligned assessor as part of his interview.

His catch phrase since his appointment has been "fighting corruption" - a strategy he says is well under way.

"I plan to implement a clear anti-corruption strategy. But I cannot do this alone and will have to do it in partnership with all HODs (Heads of Departments) so that this becomes a provincial effort and not a one-man crusade.

"HODs will discuss and create a programme to fight corruption, led by the office of the premier."

He said the strategy would also look at how the provincial administration could foster a partnership with law enforcement agencies.

"I believe that any successful fight against corruption must be a multi-disciplinary effort.

"It's still early for me to have caught 'bad apples', but there are ongoing investigations and mine is to ensure these are speedily concluded so that anyone who is guilty should face the full wrath of the law."