Zuma talks corruption in his nation address
In his fourth State of the Nation Address in parliament on 9 February 2012, Zuma affirmed that fighting corruption would remain a priority for government.
He announced that a multi-agency working group on procurement – led by treasury, the South African Revenue Service and the Financial Intelligence Centre – would review the entire state procurement system “to ensure better value for money from state spending".
He added that there would also be a "vetting of supply-chain personnel" in government departments.
Zuma welcomed the launch Corruption Watch and gave the nod to government-business cooperation in implementing anti-corruption programmes.
Passenger rail agency head in hot water
The Mail & Guardian has reported that Lucky Montana, group chief executive of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, had been accused of tender irregularities amounting to over R1-billion.
The allegations were made in a dossier put together by the South African Trade and Allied Workers Union.
According to the agency's chief strategy officer Tiro Holele, speaking on behalf of Montana, the allegations have no base.
President of the railworkers union Ephraim Mphahlele said the dossier has been handed over to Corruption Watch and the office of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, adding that it would also go to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and the Hawks.
Mphahlele said the union believes Montana is “directly liable for wasteful expenditure, fraudulent activities and even reckless trading and the abuse of authority and the violation of the [Public Finance Management Act] and the National Treasury Act”, it was reported in the Mail & Guardian.
Bid to reopen Zuma’s corruption case
Opposition party the Democratic Alliance went to the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday 15 February 2012 to get prosecutors to reopen the corruption case against President Jacob Zuma, who was charged with receiving bribes in the highly controversial multibillion-dollar arms deal.
The DA argued in court this week that it should be granted access to the files that led prosecutors to drop the case against the president. The party speculated that the 2009 decision to suspend charges was politically motivated.
On Wednesday the National Prosecuting Authority submitted in papers to the appeals court that the DA's interests were "party political interests", not legal interests.
The authority supported the North Gauteng High Court’s previous ruling that the DA had not shown that its rights, or those of the broader public, had been violated by the prosecutors’ decision to drop charges.
Now the Supreme Court of Appeal must decide whether to send the case back to the high court. The date for this decision has not been announced.
‘Integrity pact’ for firms eyeing state contracts
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has announced that companies wishing to win contracts from the government’s infrastructure development programme would need to sign an "integrity pact" committing them to ethical behaviour, non-collusion with competitors and competitive pricing, it was reported in Business Day on 16 February 2012.
Patel said government would guard against price collusion, corruption and unnecessary industrial action on infrastructure projects.
He added that government was in discussion with business and organised labour "to address the need for competitive pricing, firm action against public and private sector corruption and co-operative industrial relations".