afrol News, 28 October - The government of South Africa is not content with its steadily poorer scores regarding corruption perception. A special anti-corruption unit is now announced to regain the upper hand against corrupt officials.
As Transparency International (TI) yesterday presented its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010, it became clear that South Africa is continuing its negative trend. The Index, based on interviews, shows that more and more South Africans trust less and less in their system.
Indeed, South Africa this year was given its poorest score on the TI Index since it was introduced in 1997. South Africans interviewed by TI gave their country a score of 4.5 out of 10.0 possible.
South Africans perceived a major improvement regarding corruption in the 2005-07 period, but since then, the country's score on TI's annual index has fallen each year - from 5.1 in 2007 to 4.5 now.
Also South African authorities have observed that their fight against corruption is slowly losing out. Government spokesmen therefore used the day to talk about new initiatives to fight corruption in the country, which is renowned as Africa's most advanced economy.
South Africa's Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi, for example, today urged society to be vigilant against corruption, warning that it was "the single largest threat to good governance."
"Left unabated, it will develop to a state where access to both public and private services is based on the degree to which you are able to manipulate delivery, even if these are supposed to be freely given," added the Minister.
Minister Baloyi stressed that measures to fight corruption require partnership between government, business, civil society and the general public. He said government had now embarked on a number of policy instruments that were designed to make it difficult for corruption to thrive.
Mr Baloyi announced that government was establishing a special anti-corruption unit that would be responsible for investigating cases involving senior managers that are not yet in the formal criminal justice system.
The unit was to investigate senior officials with undeclared business interests, performing remunerative work outside the public service without permission, who solicit and/or receive bribes in return for performing or not performing official duties and those who are receiving some grant or benefits unlawfully.
A Public Service Commission had made the proposal of an anti-corruption unit. Chairman Ralph Mgijima said the Commission had found that a "lack of coordination, non-compliance and integration" was hampering the effective rooting out of corruption in government ministries.
Mr Mgijima said that while structures had been established in South Africa to promote the coordination of anti-corruption efforts among government departments and between government, business and civil society, this had not been optimal.
He also expressed concern about the cases which at times are not dealt with effectively. The Commission found that only 36 percent of corruption cases were being reported.
In addition to an anti-corruption unit, the Commission also proposed improved recruitment policies for government posts. Government needed to develop "credible strategies to attract and retain a competent workforce for the lack of capacity and skills in the public service," Mr Mgijima urged.
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