THE decision by Transport Minister, Sbu Ndebele, to return a gift Mercedes to the contractors who wanted to “thank” him for his contribution to their growth must be praised.
Ndebele could have spared us the three days he spent contemplating the issue for it was, to borrow from water-cooler slang, a “no-brainer”.
It is simply unacceptable for any recipient of government business to provide any payment or reward to a government official. At the very best, it is dangerously naive, at worst it is a calculated move aimed at repaying an official for their role in awarding the contract.
The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 makes it very clear that offering inducements or “rewards” after the fact is illegal.
Whether or not Ndebele would have crossed this legal line by accepting the Mercedes is a moot point. The prosecution would have to show that he acted improperly in awarding contracts or tenders and Ndebele’s bona fides must be accepted in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.
What is truly shocking is the attitude of the new President, Jacob Zuma. Ndebele declared the gift to him and his answer was that there was nothing wrong with him accepting it.
This is very bad advice which suggests that Zuma and his Cabinet are open to receiving substantial gifts.
The point is not whether or not the acceptance of gifts is legal. It is a question of whether or not it is ethical.
Government must be seen to be beyond reproach and its officials should not, under any circumstances, accept gifts whether they be well-intentioned or otherwise.
The only exception to this should be those gifts which are ceremoniously exchanged between governments as signals of goodwill and they should belong to the state.
I know there are countless gifts mandela got when he was the president of the ANC and of the country.
Among them was a bmw car from the car industry. I remember no one asking for Madiba to declare or return of this.
But the answer is obvious, madiba is madiba.
Spot on Ray. You are redeeming yourself with this report. Not because you are talking bad about Zuma and the ANC, but because you are talking the honest truth.
tebogo – If memory serves, that car was auctioned off and the prceeds given to the Mandela children’s foundation. All gifts he received as head of state are in the hands of the government (there is a warehouse full of them).
Thank you, Ray
I also commend Sbu Ndebele for returning the gift, and for asking that it must be sold in order to start a programme that will empower the emerging contractors. However, i find it difficult to openly criticise president Jacob Zuma. Given the fact that i don’t know the context through which he sad its fine for Ndebele to accept the gift. Once that is clear to me, I will be in a position to comment about Zumas advise.
At issue here is even thinking about accepting gifts valued at more than R1 million shows extreme poor judgement. I agree that the advice given by Zuma is indicative of both his paradigm and what we can expect in future. Many multinational companies have very strict rules on acceptiing gifts and the bar is pretty low from US$100 to US$150 at most. There are also very strict procedures about providing documentary proof and an audit trail.
What is happening here has already happened all over Africa. Taking back-handers have become a way of life. Companies have already discovered that attempting to work above board and try a case in the courts of law in Tanzania. A thief can steal hundreds of thousands of rands from you and get away with it. All he has to do is give the judge a sweetener and they can tie a corporation up in court for years.
This “genuine” free gift story is the thin edge of the wedge and once this becomes the established business culture, the spiral to ruin is pretty swift.
Mr. Hartley, didn’t the President asked the minister to “apply [his] mind on the matter”? And what else could he have said, because no law was broken.
is it honestly only about the law? What about integrity, moral decency.. friggin ethics?
Lizzy, these things have not yet fully developed in certain cultures and societies.
Larry, I’m not sure Luzuko is actually to blame here either.
I’m going to Canada to visit my boyfriend sometime next month. Useless info, but I’m telling you (by default everyone hehe) in any case
We will miss you when you go, Elizabeth. Just make sure you leave him there when you return.
I am not letting this one go. He’s a teacher, and he cares more about SA than any foreigner I’ve encountered thus far. He wants to move here and help. Very proactive this one
Plus, I’ll still be blogging from there, they do have tel lines
Elizabeth, thank you for defending my honour. The evolution of morality in animals of the womb might seem, to those whose ‘view’ ceases to penetrate the surface, a tedious process. We drew up hearing how morally inferior we are at birth so much that it does not sting anymore. Whenever I hear it, I just escape to my ‘happy-place’. But thank you nonetheless. Let those Canadians experience ‘Ubuntu’ at its best.
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I can’t say **** or **** or *** ororor but this shitfuck gets to post his friggin dayjob?
ahahaha ok *blush* I didn’t think that one would slip through either
Silver Bullet, I will gladly pay for three if you take the first one to your right temple… you stupid sick faak.