DA’s plan to crush corruption in the Northern Cape

Andrew Louw MPL

DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate

Under Zuma’s ANC, corruption in the Northern Cape is rampant.  Government leaders such as John Block, Alvin Botes and Yolande Botha face allegations of criminal charges, yet they remain in charge of government spending.

Corruption undermines both the quality of service delivery and slows down economic growth. Corruption steals from the poor.

As a result of the current administration’s apathetic approach to corruption, it is siphoning money away from public spending.

–        John Block, Alvin Botes and Yolande Botha are alleged to have received kickbacks worth millions of rands in the Trifecta scandal, for which they are currently facing criminal charges in the Kimberley High Court. This is R69 million that could have gone towards improving service delivery and creating a conducive environment for economic growth.

–        Premier Sylvia Lucas became the “Fast Food Premier” after using her government credit card to purchase over R50 000 worth of fast food during her first 10 weeks in office. This is R50 000 that could have gone towards improving service delivery and creating a conducive environment for economic growth.

Where the DA already governs, we have cut corruption and waste, so that money is directed at service delivery.

All tender processes are open to the public in the Western Cape and the Provincial Government also adopted the Ministerial Handbook with no frills.

The DA’s priority in the Northern Cape would be to cut corruption and create jobs.

To fight corruption the DA will:

  1. Limit political interference.

There must be a clear separation between party and state in all three spheres of government. People will be appointed on merit and not through cadre deployment.

  1. Improve accountability.

This means holding public servants legally accountable for their jobs. This would include disciplinary actions. This would prevent officials from resigning and being appointed in another department in order to avoid previous charges, as is the norm in this province.

  1. Strengthen anti-corruption institutions.

The current corruption unit is dysfunctional and the DA will put more resources to strengthen our fight against corruption.

  1. Take a stand against corruption & maladministration.

The DA would pass a provincial law, making it illegal for public servants to do business with the state, thereby limiting opportunities for corruption, as we have done in the Western Cape.

  1. Curb spending on perks for politicians.

Gone are the days of government issued credit cards. The Northern Cape took centre stage last year with “Fast Food Premier” Sylvia Lucas. The DA Government will implement the austerity measures initiated by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Part of the measures to cut corruption in the province is to eliminate the opportunity for corrupt activities to occur. For the Members of the Provincial executive, this would mean strict adherence to an updated Ministerial Handbook for the Northern Cape.

The DA in the Northern Cape has been fighting for tighter control measures on Executive spending since 2012.

We have all heard stories of excessive spending by provincial MEC’s on lengthy stays at five-star hotels, and the purchasing of expensive vehicles and throwing lavish parties. When questioned on spending taxpayers’ money in this way, many of them refer to the current ministerial handbook produced by the National Department Public Service and Administration and say “the handbook says I can”. This is a real bad story to tell.

The DA does not condone the flamboyant spending by MEC’s which the current ministerial handbook allows.

This is a poor excuse for abusing taxpayers’ money.

Today we present the DA Government in Waiting’s “no frills” provincial ministerial handbook for when we take office after elections 2014. If it were to be implemented, MECs would be bound by these tighter rules and regulations.

This initiative will help ensure we put a stop to excessive spending that benefits politicians at the expense of the people.

The following table indicates where the DA’s proposed Northern Capes ministerial handbook has reduced the scope for excessive spending, comparing it to what is stipulated in the national ministerial handbook:

AREA OF EXPENDITURE NORTHERN CAPE MINISTERIAL HANDBOOK NATIONAL MINISTERIAL HANDBOOK
1. Disclosure of Gifts & Hospitality Any gifts or hospitality received that exceeds R350 must be disclosed Any gifts or hospitality received that exceeds R500 must be disclosed
2. Restriction of ownership of interests in certain business entities A Cabinet Member may not have a business interest in any entity conducting business with the Provincial Government if the Cabinet Member himself or herself or together with one or more:

(a) family members of the Cabinet Member;

(b) partners or other business associates of the Cabinet Member; or
(c) other Cabinet Members;

directly or indirectly owns or controls more than five per cent of the shares, stock, membership or other interest of that entity.

(this brings the handbook directly in line with our recently adopted Business Interests of Employees Act)

No such rule exists in the national handbook.
3. Accommodation and subsistence expenses incurred by members and debited to the State Accommodation and subsistence expenses should be kept as low as possible by making use of hotels that have reasonable tariffs. As a rule, five star hotels must be avoided. Accommodation and subsistence expenses should be kept as low as possible by making use of hotels, which suit the status of Members, but that have reasonable tariffs. There is no rule on avoiding five star hotels.
4. Official vehicles 1. The total purchase price of the vehicle chosen by the Member may not exceed 40 % of the inclusive annual remuneration package of the Member.

 

2. The total purchase price per vehicle must include VAT, accessories, extras and a motor maintenance plan offered by the manufacturer.

 

3. Members are at liberty to choose appropriate vehicles of lesser value in the interest of spending efficiency.

The total purchase price of the vehicle chosen by the Member may not exceed 70 % of the inclusive annual remuneration package of the Member.

Guidelines 2 & 3 are not in the national handbook

5. Use of rental vehicles Only Group D (1600 cc and automatic) vehicles may be rented at airports unless it is impractical for the required purpose as determined by the Member. There is no limit on the type of vehicles Ministers can rent.
6. Domestic and International flights 1.Domestic Flights: members should use economy class

 

2.International Flights: members should use economy class when travelling less than 8 hours for official purposes, For flights (departing Cape Town) longer than 8 hours, Members may utilise business class.

1. Domestic flights: members are entitled to business class travel

 

2. International flights: members are entitled to first class travel

7. State sponsored Credit Cards No departmental sponsored credit cards may be obtained in the name of a Member. Ministers may obtain a departmental sponsored credit card with the express authorisation of the DG or relevant accounting officer.
8. Security measures at private residences No direct payment to Members for security measures to be installed. The Provincial Department of Public Works to be solely responsible for the installation of security measures. Provincial contribution to be reviewed annually to correspond with the changing costs of security systems. Direct payment made to Members for security measures implemented at private residences. Provincial contribution to be reviewed every 5 years to correspond with the changing costs of security systems.

Under a DA government, any member of the public will be able to use this handbook to hold the Provincial Executive accountable for the way in which they spend taxpayer’s money.

Voting DA on 7 May 2014 is a vote Together For Change and against corruption in the Northern Cape.