COSATU demands Minister's resignation
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is outraged by the damning findings of the Public Protector into allegations of breaches of the Executive Ethics Code by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, and demands that the Minister should immediately resign from his position.
The report contains detailed and indisputable evidence of the most serious violations of not only the Executive Ethics Code, but of the Public Protector Act and even the Constitution.
It reveals that the minister deliberately misled the President over the purpose of a trip to Switzerland to visit his girlfriend in prison, which he undertook at public expense and under false pretences. His actions were "accordingly unlawful and constituted maladministration, dishonesty in respect of public money, and improper conduct".
The Public Protector reaches similar conclusions on the numerous allegations of repeatedly staying at expensive hotels, and in one case says that his conduct constituted "fraudulent misrepresentation" and "dishonesty".
In every other democratic country, a minister faced with such damning evidence would have resigned, apologised and repaid the money fraudulently claimed from the taxpayer. Instead the Minister has remained in office, claiming to be sick, while continuing to earn his full salary and benefits.
He must now resign immediately, and save the President from having to implement the serious remedial action recommended by the Public Protector, which can only mean his dismissal.
The main lesson from this scandal is that South Africa must establish a new set of moral standards for its public representatives and officials. It must be spelled out that they have been entrusted with power and responsibility in order to serve the people who elected or appointed them, not to advance their personal interests or those of their families and friends.
All the rules governing the use of taxpayers' money must be tightened up and ruthlessly enforced, at every level of government. There needs to be a war against the invasion into the public service of the capitalist morality of "me-first", which promotes self-enrichment and greed at the expense of service to the people.
The ANC and its allies must take urgent steps to rid government of elements who are using the revolutionary movement and democratic institutions as a career path to riches.
We need to ensure that only the most committed, honest and hardworking servants of the people are elected as ANC public representatives at all levels of government, in accordance with the long-established traditions of our organisations.
Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, October 14 2011
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