The Democratic Alliance welcomes the statement of the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Noxolo Kiviet, at last Thursday’s (subs: 25 Aug) midyear provincial Legotla that the province will no longer allow Eastern Cape public servants to trade with the government.

The DA over a long period of time has been promoting this policy shift in terms of our agenda of accountability. Last year in November I tabled private members’ legislation, the Eastern Cape Business Interests of Employees Procurement Bill to this effect in the Eastern Cape Legislature.

The ANC support for our position is a step forward to rooting out corruption in this province. Let’s move speedily madam Premier and clean up this province.

I will forward a copy of this legislation to the Premier and ask follow-up questions as to how this proposed policy shift is going to be regulated. It is based on legislation that was approved last year by the Western Cape Provincial Government with the support of the ANC.

It is imperative that legislation is approved as quickly as possible to outlaw this practice. I will also write to the Speaker to request that my Bill be processed as a matter of urgency in the light of the ANC’s commitment to supporting this legislation.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Premier’s reported remarks that this practice creates unfair competition and opens government to corrupt tendencies.

The former Superintendent-General of Education, prof. Harry Nengwekhulu, stated last year that 90% of the senior management of the department was trading with the province. There is no doubt in my mind that the fight for control of the Education Department is really about a fight to control the R6,2 billion in tenders for the eradication of mud schools.

It was also reported last year that 12 000 of the Health Department’s officials were trading with the department and R800 million was lost to corruption.

My Private Members’ Bill provides that an entity that does business with the province must provide an affidavit disclosing any business interest that an employee or family member of the employee has in a business entity. An employee may not have business interests in any entity conducting business with the province if that employee controls more than 5% of the interest of that entity.

The capital and goods and services expenditure for the province exceeds R13 billion. It is estimated that at least 20% of this is lost through overpricing, maladministration, and corruption and this amounts to more than the annual budgets of most departments.

In a province with massive poverty and infrastructural backlogs where people are hungry for jobs we cannot waste a single cent on corruption. This legislation to ban civil servants doing business with the province needs to be passed as soon as possible. The DA will continue to vigorously pursue this matter.