NATIONAL NEWS - The Public Protector's office has today released a report on the findings of its investigation into the alleged improper conduct of Hessequa mayor, Christopher Taute. It has found him guilty on all counts and has made recommendations on the actions that need to be taken. The DA welcomes the findings of the report and commends the exemplary work of the Public Protector.
The findings make it clear that Christopher Taute, who remains the mayor of Hessequa, cannot continue in that capacity. At issue here is the misuse of public funds for party political purposes. This finding constitutes yet another example of how the ANC abuses public office for its own political gain. It is an indictment, and the ANC structures in Hessequa and the province owe the South African public an apology for its abuse of public funds.
The question is: what now? The Public Protector has recently made several significant findings against senior ANC members in the public service, including President Jacob Zuma on his failure to declare his interests and, more recently, Police Commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde on the property deal involving Roux Shabangu. In each of these cases, the ANC government's failure to act on the recommendations made by the Public Protector, or even to respond within the required time, show a troubling disregard for the authority of this office.
The real point here is the following: The ANC claims over and over again that it is going to act decisively and in a principled manner to root out and end corruption. More often than not, however, this appears to be nothing more than rhetoric. This latest finding is another opportunity for the ANC to practise what it preaches. What it does to respond to the Public Protector's report will tell the public everything about its real attitude towards corruption.
The report makes extensive and comprehensive recommendations, and the DA will:
* exert all necessary pressure on the Hessequa municipality to take appropriate action, based on the findings of the report
* by way of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, ensure that the recommendations are acted upon
* ask parliamentary questions to determine which procedures are being followed to ensure that the findings are enforced.
The Public Protector's office is a constitutional body. The ANC's attitude towards it is effectively a measure of its attitude towards the Constitution. We look forward to the governing party's response to this latest finding.
Posted on: 16:03 Tue, 05 July 2011
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