Hundreds gather to ‘say no to corruption’

Hundreds gather to ‘say no to corruption’“Chronic underfunding made the last decade of TB research one of missed targets,” said TAG Executive Director Mark Harrington. TAG's new report shows TB research funding has virtually remained at 2009 levels

About 300 activists recently gathered outside the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg to protest corruption they say is partially behind poor service delivery.

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The Treatment Action Campaign has been calling for the dismissal of Free State Health MEC Benny Malakoane (File photo)
The Treatment Action Campaign has been calling for the dismissal of Free State Health MEC Benny Malakoane (File photo)

Organised by an alliance of citizens and civil society groups, the protest was set to coincide with the 7 August 2015 deadline for Parliament’s ad hoc Committee on Nkandla to release its findings on Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report on security upgrades to the presidential compounds.

The alliance is also planning much larger marches against corruption in Johannesburg and Cape Town on 23 September.

The Treatment Action Campaign’s Andrew Mosane said many problems plaguing the national health system could be traced at least in part to corruption.

“Many of public health facilities are running out of essential drugs and that affects all ordinary people of South Africa,” he told OurHealth. “Stock outs are actually caused by corruption.”

He cited the impact of corruption in the tender system, saying that suppliers who fail to deliver on government contracts continue to be paid and awarded new contracts.

[quote float= right]We are saying no to corruption, both in public and private institutions, because corruption is benefiting that minority while majority is suffering”

Chief executive director of the public interest law organisation Section27 Mark Heywood also said that the health sector had faced several high profile corruption cases in recent years.

“Activists should to stand together against corruption and make sure that bad elements like Mr Benny Malakoane that corrupt the health system in Free State province and Mr Brian Hlongwa that corrupted the health system in Gauteng province should remain in jail,” Heywood said. “We are saying no to corruption, both in public and private institutions, because corruption is benefiting that minority while majority is suffering.”

Free State MEC for Health Malakoane has been charged with fraud and corruption alongside seven others for allegedly receiving kickbacks during his time as Matjhabeng Local Municipality Municipal Manager, the Mail&Guardian reported in August 2014.

The Treatment Action Campaign has called for Malakoane’s dismissal and formally laid additional corruption charges against Malakoane in September 2014.

The National Prosecuting Authority has alleged that former Gauteng MEC for Health Hlongwa received money from Kemsing Services, a company that was part of the Baoki Consortium, to purchase the Bryanston home in cash. It also alleges that the former MEC received other perks from Baoki Consortium to award them the tender.

As of January, the National Prosecuting Authority was attempting to attach Hlongwa’s luxury home on the grounds that the property was “the proceeds of unlawful activities.”

Freddy Mathekga is a junior organiser with the non-profit organisation Equal Education, which advocates for better education in public schools. He said corruption’s affects extended beyond health facilities and into schools, which are cheaply made and not maintained.