By Mike Moriarty MPL, DA Chief Whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature:
Gauteng premier David Makhura today tried to spin his way out of questions demanding why so few government officials were criminally charged for financial misconduct, while others remain largely unpunished during the 2014/15 financial year.
The DA quizzed the premier over findings by the Public Service Commission (PSC) that only 3% of provincial government officials involved in 122 cases of financial misconduct amounting to R67 million are facing criminal charges.
In his reply, the premier claimed that criminal charges could only be pressed once internal disciplinary and appeals processes were finalised, despite promising on numerous occasions that he would take a tough stance on corruption.
The premier is wrong. If criminal conduct is suspected, criminal charges must be laid, and police must investigate.
There is no legal precedent that forces government to complete internal procedures before pressing criminal charges – unless the premier doubts the police’s ability to sufficiently investigate such charges.
The premier also completely misinterpreted the PSC’s findings by claiming that 3% of the 122 were successfully prosecuted, when in fact only criminal charges were pressed.
While trying to paint a picture of his administration being at the forefront in the war on corruption, the picture that emerged was that of a premier ill-prepared and out of touch with reality.
Today the truth finally emerged. Premier Makhura does not have the political will to fight corruption and cannot deliver on his promises of the past 17 months.
The question now is how many other promises will be broken.