By Valencia Talane

What good are anti-corruption laws if they do not protect those who blow the whistle on people who abuse public resources, and offer no visible punishment for those who are caught?

This was the burning question at a debate co-hosted by Corruption Watch and Kaya FM in Tembisa on Wednesday. Presenter and host John Perlman broadcast his 6pm-7pm show from the event, encouraging residents of one of the country’s largest townships to not only share their corruption experiences, but also offer ideas towards its solution. 

Deputy public protector Kevin Malunga, who was part of the discussion panel, admitted that a review of the current legislation was urgently needed to turn the corruption problem around.

Even though we have good anti-corruption laws, Malunga said, these are not enough. “It is the citizens who have to report corruption, but the laws have to improve first.”

He added that his office has outreach functions and the teams do their best to reach South Africans in all the nine provinces so that they get the opportunity to report corruption and irregularities in service delivery programmes to the public protector.

Government departments not dealing with corruption complaints

Speaking on the interventions implemented by his organisation, Xolile George, CEO of the South African Local Government Association (Salga), said the Municipal Public Accounts Committee was established for purposes of streamlining people’s complaints regarding local government. “What we need is a people-centred governance system…because that encourages people to report incidents of corruption.”

But Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis raised the point that many people who report to Corruption Watch state that they have made their complaint elsewhere, usually through channels provided by government, but received no help. This, he said, meant that the organisations established to deal with complaints from the public were themselves not achieving much if complainants’ views are anything to go by.

Attending residents raised a variety of issues from the incompetence of municipal officials in tackling service delivery queries, to abuse by police officials, and housing allocation.

Residents listen as members of the panel speak on their various interventions in their fight against corruption. Facilitator John Perlman stands next to the panel.


Salga CEO Xolile George responds to a question from the floor, while deputy public protector Kevin Malunga and Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis listen. To their left (standing) is Kaya FM presenter John Perlman.

Residents of Tembisa in Ekurhuleni came out in their numbers to discuss their experiences of corruption and to offer possible solutions to the problems facing the country.

Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality chief financial officer Ramasele Magoele responds to a question from the floor.

Corruption Watch’s Ronald Menoe waits with a microphone to provide residents an opportunity to speak.


Corruption Watch and Kaya Fm hosted a public discussion on corruption in Tembisa on Wednesday 16 April. Residents came to share their experiences and learn from those of the panel, which included Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality chief financial officer Ramasele Magoele, CEO of Salga, Xolile George, and Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis.
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