28 February 2013

Released documents reveal government's response to internal corruption

R2K protester holding plackard which reads 'Democracy grows in light

Last week, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced his plan to publicize the names of government officials convicted of corruption. [1] While this information is already in the public domain through court records, it is not widely known.

According to Radebe, the number of officials who have been convicted is low. The minister stated that over the past three years, 237 government officials had been arrested, but only 32 have been convicted. Two have been acquitted and 203 cases are still before the courts.

But while the threat of prosecution is a crucial part of keeping officials accountable, prevention is as important as discipline when it comes to corruption. SAHA has been working to find out how government departments prevent, investigate and discipline cases of corruption and conflicts of interest among their own employees. Since October 2012, SAHA has made fifteen PAIA requests to eleven departments for information about:

1) Policies and procedures on preventing, investigating, and disciplining corruption and conflicts of interest, and;

2) Specific occurrences and investigations of corruption and conflicts and interest over the past five years.

SAHA previously reported on documents provided by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Basic Education. Since then, SAHA has received information from the Department of Correctional Services, the City of Cape Town, the Cape Town Port Authority, and the Gauteng Office of the Premier. Highlights include:

- The Gauteng Office of the Premier claims not to have investigated a single case of potential internal corruption or conflict of interest in the past five years. [SAH-2012-GPP-0002]

- A detailed chart from the Department of Correctional Services shows internal corruption cases investigated by department since 1 April 2008. For each case, the chart lists the date registered, the allegation, the region, the area, the source, and the case status. [SAH-2012-DCS-0004]

- The City of Cape Town's policies for preventing and responding to fraud among its elected officials and employees. [SAH-2012-CCT-0003]

- The Cape Town Port Authority's policy on whistle blowing, which describes how and when Transnet employees are required to disclose the corrupt conduct of an employer or employee. [SAH-2012-CTA-0001]

To date, SAHA's requests to the Department of Human Settlements, the Department of Transport, the Department of Public Works, and the City of Johannesburg have not been answered.

You can view these and other released documents through SAHA's Freedom of Information Program collection. you can also track the progress of current requests on SAHA's Request Tracker Search.

[1] Davies, Richard. "Government to name and shame corrupt officials." Mail & Guardian. 24 February 2013.