'Stop passing on inside information about tenders to families and friends only'
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that if public servants and political office-bearers truly care about the public whose interests they claim to represent, they must allow ordinary members of the public who have interest in doing business with the government a fair chance to bid for such business opportunities "instead of passing on inside information about opportunities to our families and friends".
"We already have regulations, such as annual financial disclosure, in place to discourage public servants doing business with the state. Anyone bidding for state work has to make a declaration of interest, including whether anyone connected to the bid is employed by the state.
"This is clearly not enough. While everyone in South Africa has a right to engage in business activities, we are faced with the real problem of families and friends of political office-bearers or public servants receiving contracts from the state. Not all conduct of this sort is necessarily criminal, but it does contribute to a perception and a culture of nepotism, favouritism and abuse. And it undermines public confidence in the integrity of our institutions and processes," he said in his weekly newsletter From The Desk of the President.
He bemoaned the "utter lack of conscience that leads a businessperson who has heeded the call to provide lifesaving supplies during a devastating pandemic to inflate the price of a surgical mask by as much as 900%".
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