Johannesburg – Parliament has called on the SA Local Government Association (Salga) to deal decisively with councillors involved in acts of corruption during the national lockdown.
The call was made during a recent virtual meeting, where Salga presented its 2020/2021 strategic plan and annual performance plan to Parliament.
The chairperson of the select committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements, China Dodovu, said the level of corruption among councillors could no longer be tolerated as it would jeopardise the fight against the coronavirus.
He called on Salga to put in place systems that would “tighten the screws” on councillors allegedly involved in mismanaging food parcels meant for the poor.
“How do we ensure there are proper checks and balances in the spending of the Covid-19 funds and ensure the purchasing of protective personal equipment is done properly?
“Because if we don’t monitor these things, it will result in a big scandal,” he said.
He added the current scandals were a warning the Covid-19 emergency fund was in danger of being squandered.
“We have already heard about councillors and officials involved in food-distribution corruption and issuing permits when they are not supposed to. It is one thing to come here and present plans, but on the ground, the situation in municipalities is deteriorating,” he said.
Addressing the nation last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an additional R20 billion would be made available to municipalities for emergency water supply, increased sanitation of public transport and facilities, and the provision of food and shelter for the homeless.
In response to MPs’ questions on what training was provided for councillors for them to behave accordingly, Salga president Thembi Nkadimeng said training provided did not “prevent corruption”, but was meant to capacitate councillors to make correct decisions.
“Wrongdoing is often not as a result of a lack of capacity, but a lack of desire to do the right thing,” she said.
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By Bongani Hans