TOP EASTERN CAPE OFFICIALS ARE ACTING ABOVE THE LAW

The DA has learned with dismay that out of the 668 Senior Management Members (SMS) in the Eastern Cape, only 382 (or 57%) submitted their financial disclosure forms to the Public Service Commission by the due date for the 2008/2009 financial year. The refusal of senior managers in the Eastern Cape government administration to disclose their financial affairs, as required by law, is symptomatic of the financial backslide the province is facing.

The DA members will be homing in on these officials in portfolio committee meetings during the coming year as part of our anti-corruption drive.

Another shocker in the report released by the PSC at the end of 2009, shows that officials at the most senior levels are repeat offenders who did not submit their forms for 2007/2008 either. This includes one Director General, one Deputy Director General, five Chief Directors and 53 Directors. Given the fact that these officials deal with large tenders is indeed a great risk-factor for potential corrupt practices.

Scrutinising the offenders per department, the main culprits are Health, where 167 of the 215 SMS members did not submit disclosure forms while at Education 27 out of 68 SMS members did not comply with the legislation.

Health and Education gets 75% of the annual provincial budget. On would therefore expect the highest level of compliance. Yet these two departments repeatedly get adverse opinions from the Auditor-General.

The PSC framework is specifically designed to provide transparency, accountability and integrity. It is also instituted to prevent corruption and cronyism from being allowed to flourish in an area where senior public servants work with large amounts of public money.

It must be noted that in the DA-led Western Cape, the compliance rate for 2007/2008 was 100% and in 2008/2009, 94%. According to the PSC, this “illustrates that the top management is leading by example”.

During her 2009 State of the Province speech, Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet said: “it is crucial to recognise that both the Executive and Legislature are important partners in improving performance. In this term we will inculcate a culture of respect to the organs of State in general, and the Legislature in particular

Given the sentiments conveyed by both the Premier it is indeed disappointing to note the blasé attitude of top officials that they are above the law. It is time that this Premier takes a stand and acts against non-performance, starting at the highest levels.

For further information, please contact Bobby Stevenson, MPL on 082 775 3444.