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The public must hold officials to account - Gordhan

Oct 11 2016 14:19
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – Members of National Treasury are expected to conduct themselves in a way that does not compromise the economic reputation of the country and jeopardise the welfare of citizens, while a handful of people in government continue to “extract” from the public purse, said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan was speaking at the Open Tender Seminar, held in Midrand on Tuesday, despite the news that he has been summoned to appear in court on 2 November 2016, on a charge of fraud over the Sars spy unit.

This comes just over two weeks before the minister is expected to deliver the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). Government intends to deliver the MTBPS on 26 October to indicate the revenue and expenditure situation of the country for the remainder of the year. Gordhan emphasised the meaning of the word “intend” given the recent development of the Hawks probe.

READ: Who are the Hawks really serving?

“I always had to be diplomatic about these matters,” said Gordhan, who was referring to the investigation into the Sars rogue unit.

Promoting integrity

Gordhan quickly moved on to emphasise the importance of fighting corruption.

“We say that we are here to represent the poor’s interest. But when we engage in corrupt practice, we undermine the poor and ensure they do not get what they are entitled to,” he said. “Who will defend the poor when we are running to get benefits for ourselves?”

He said the culture of bribery should not be embedded into the culture of South Africa. Introducing an open tender procurement system is a key instrument in supporting economic transformation, he explained.

ALSO READ: Makhura to Gordhan: 'We believe in your ethical leadership'

The more the spotlight appears on government and private sector processes, the better it will be to develop a transparent and ethical platform. This will promote a culture of integrity and not the “rot” some people want us to fall into, he said.

“We need to hold public officials to account. We must ask necessary questions for the public to understand where the money goes and if there is value for money.”

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pravin gordhan  |  gauteng  |  business  |  corruption  |  economy  |  tender


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