ACTION MAN: Fikile Xasa. Picture: Sithandiwe Velaphi
The Eastern Cape provincial legislature said it was in the process of closing all loose ends to make it difficult for provincial government officials to do business with the state.
Speaking in Mthatha late on Sunday, provincial legislature speaker Fikile Xasa said the move was informed by experiences they encountered during their term of office in the legislature.
“When we joined the legislature in 2009, we found that there were many officials who were doing business with the state, unabated, without any control measures,” Xasa said.
“What we have proposed is that those seeking to do business with the state must go via me in the legislature.
“Officials should choose between being businessmen and public servants,” Xasa said.
He cited the departments of health and education as the biggest culprits.
“I had an experience of an education official in King William’s Town who was tasked with paying out money to companies providing scholar transport. We found that the official had registered his company under her daughter who was a university student.
“This student was always the first to receive money before all other companies. We managed to reverse that,” he said.
He said government officials doing business with government were always inefficient and ineffective.
“They place the interests of their companies higher than their duties. Officials also inflated prices so that their companies could benefit more,” Xasa said.
The speaker said he was shocked to find that the department of health in the province had interns doing business with the department.
“This should change. This is bad behaviour,” he said.
He said officials intending to do business with the state would now be obliged to demonstrate how much time they spent at the company.
“We will then get the opportunity to see if the official cannot be permanently released from government to concentrate on the business.”
Xasa said they were also in the process of changing some of the old policies in the legislature.
“When we came here there was policy that said level one to 11 posts should not be advertised externally. That has changed because we believe in equal opportunities. These posts are now advertised externally though some officials are not happy with this,” he said.