Letter to the Editor – Government cannot be a state employee loan scheme

By Francois Rodgers, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Finance:

A recent Pietermaritzburg High court order instructing two Harry Gwala District Municipality employees to pay back more than R253 000 of provincial funds, after being found guilty of poor financial controls and the disappearance of this money, is a welcome step.

The prudent handling of state money should never be undermined, no matter the employee ranking or status.

A matter which remains of grave concern though is the lack of visible criminal action against these officials.

Do they now have criminal records? Or does this ruling set a precedent where officials guilty of misappropriating state funds are only expected to “pay back the money”?

Does it mean that once they have paid back the money they will simply be redeployed to another town or another province or state department?

If this is indeed the case then government has become nothing more than a state employee loan scheme.

With the sad rate of internal corruption within KZN’s own government departments the DA again calls on the Premier and his ANC led government to implement a “blacklist” register of all staff found guilty of financial misappropriation.

To do so would send out a clear message that fraud and corruption will not be tolerated.

It will also ensure that these officials are removed once and for all and act as a deterrent for those planning a ‘get rich quick scheme’ at the expense of the South African tax payer and the poorest of the poor.