Bobby Stevenson MPL
DA Caucus Leader in the Eastern Cape Legislature
You are spot-on, Madam Premier but you have been talking tough for almost a year on insider-trading by civil servants and you cannot hide behind the Constitution. Start tightening the screws. Councillors, in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act, cannot trade with councils. It is the same principal when it comes to civil servants.
Firm action is needed as a matter of urgency. Stop dragging your heels.
The Auditor-General’s report on municipalities found that civil servants in the Eastern Cape were awarded R94.4 million worth of government tenders for the period 2010-2011 at local government level.
The growth of small businesses which are the biggest creators of jobs, are jeopardised by the double-dipping of civil servants.
According to my parliamentary question for written reply the Premier, Noxolo Kiviet, undertook for the Executive council to approve a policy in regard to civil servants doing business with the province by December 2011.
The Daily Dispatch of September 2011 “Kiviet to crack down on trading with state”, quoted the Premier as saying that the executive had passed a resolution at their Lekgotla that the policy would be ready for implementation by January 2012.
More than two years ago I tabled a Private Member’s Bill outlawing civil servants trading with the province, based on the legislature passed by the Western Cape provincial parliament.
Clean government cannot be put on hold until Mangaung. The Eastern Cape is losing millions on a daily basis. Legislation needs to be introduced either provincially or nationally to outlaw this practice.
In the meantime there are very practical steps than can be taken to deal with this situation:
The names of all those tendering for state business names should be matched against the Persal database (subs: the employee database of civil servants). If there are any linkages with no declarations of interests, then the tender application should be immediately kicked out.
Insider trading is a criminal office on when it comes to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Good corporate governance determines that employees cannot blanketly trade with their own companies.
We need action now, Madam Premier. As you so correctly said: “Unless the province tightens the screws it would never win the fight against corruption” (Daily Dispatch 2 September 2011.)
** Local government trading is just the tip of the iceberg when one takes the provincial budget into account. Last year the Health Department admitted that 12 000 of their employees were doing business with the state. When it comes to Education, former acting Superintendent-General prof. Harry Nengwekulu stated that about 90% of the department’s senior managers were trading with the state in 2010.