PUBLIC Works and Transport Minister Tšoeu Mokeretla says cases of corruption in the issuance of public vehicle permits should be nipped in the bud as a matter of urgency.
In his address during a Systems Integrity Committee (SIC) workshop this week, Mr Mokeretla said instances of corruption should not be ignored but tackled head-on. SIC consists of senior officials from the ministry’s various departments and serves as an internal self-monitoring mechanism to prevent corruption.
The committee also serves the role of sensitising ministry officials of issues related to the fight against corruption through regular check-ups against inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
Held under the theme “The Integrity of Institutions is Characterised by Efficient and Effective Service Delivery, Free from Corrupt Practices” the workshop was organised by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO).
Mr Mokeretla said some of the ministry’s department heads had not taken the SIC workshop seriously by not attending and sending their representatives.
“It is very sad to note that not all members of the committee are in attendance. Those who are absent are belittling this issue of corruption by sending their representatives and not coming by themselves,” he said.
“This workshop is meant to equip us with skills needed to tackle corruption.”
The minister said the DCEO had unearthed instances of corruption in the issuance of public vehicle permits by the Department of Traffic.
“The DCEO assisted the Public Works and Transport ministry to probe the issuance of C and D permits that are meant for buses, taxis and four-plus-one taxis,” Mr Mokeretla said.
“The fact that there are corrupt practices taking place can no longer be ignored, particularly with regards to C and D permits.”
He added: “We cannot afford to have people paying bribes to get C permits without having their vehicles checked, because it puts innocent people’s lives in jeopardy.”
“There’s an outcry out there that a lot of important documents are being sold illegally. Our mission is to change this situation once and for all.”
Mr Mokeretla said the anti-corruption drive was in line with the ethos of the ruling seven-party coalition.
“Our policy as a coalition government is clear when it comes to fighting corruption, and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is not an exception,” he said.
“Public servants should perform their duties with integrity, and bribes don’t go hand in hand with transparency.”
On his part, DCEO Director-General Borotho Matsoso, said corruption was having a crippling effect on service delivery.
“Corruption, by definition, is corrosive. It destroys the moral fabric of society, it harms the economy of nations, and it is both anti-democratic and anti-developmental,” he said.
“With corruption, service delivery suffers brutally, institutions lose public confidence, and anarchy encroaches into government as a whole.”
Advocate Matsoso said they decided to assist the Ministry of Public Works and Transport because it was integral to the development of the country.
“The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is charged with an absolutely important mandate of developing crucial infrastructure in the form of road networks and buildings, and equally significant; of regulating transport as well,” he said.
“This is very critical for the development of the country as a whole. If indeed there is any way corruption is to be prevented, it is in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
“It is for this very reason that the DCEO is working together with the ministry to help the ministry do a Corruption Risk Analysis with a view to identify areas that may render the ministry vulnerable to corruption, and put in place effective controls.”