Deputy Public Protector urges graduates to use their skills to strengthen economy, ensure clean governance
Young graduates are the ultimate guardians of the country’s constitution and should use their skills to clean up governance problems facing the country, Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kevin Malunga said at the weekend.
Addressing the Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute (ASRI) Future Leaders Fellowship graduation in Johannesburg, Adv. Malunga said the graduates were part of the generation that has to take the country to the next level and make it internationally competitive.
He challenged graduates and the audience to ask themselves why the country lagged behind other less resourced states such as Gabon, Equitorial Guinea and Botswana in terms of the United Nations (UN) benchmarks of the Human Development Index and GDP per capita.
The Deputy Public Protector said that part of the answer to the problem was on how optimally the country was using its resources, arguing that the state resources and the economy that were needed to improve the lives of the people were leaking.
Adv. Malunga said defective state procurement process and other governance deficiencies that have resulted in some State Owned Enterprises (SOE) operating below their potential, posed a serious risk to the country’s economy.
He reminded graduates that they were part of the generation that should ensure that every public resource available was used effectively and as efficiently as possible and where there was wrongdoing, accountability is enforced.
Encouraging them to play their part in fighting corruption, Adv. Malunga said his office was established to, among other things, fight corruption and close the trust deficit between citizens and the state. However, the office could not achieve this mammoth task alone.
Deputy Public Protector Malunga observed that corruption and service delivery challenges posed a threat to the country’s stability, calling on everyone to be vigilant in safeguarding constitutionalism.
He emphasised that various rights in the Constitution entrenched a right to complain and that should graduates see that the state was not doing something right, they should use constitutionally provided mechanisms that included his office to complain.
Adv. Malunga singled out state procurement as one of the areas that needed to be monitored closely as infringements such as inflation of prices by service providers continued to steal resources that could have been used for projects that could improve the economy.
The Deputy Public Protector cited, as an example, instances where school feeding schemes paid up to R40 for a loaf of bread. He said this called for vigilant monitoring and competitive pricing before the state could commit itself to procuring from such suppliers.
The event was organised by Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute to honour graduates of The 2016 ASRI Future Leaders Fellowship Program who are drawn from various universities across the country and trained to become agents of change in various sectors of the society.
ASRI is a pluralist domestic public policy institute that conducts policy research, prototyping and advocacy in the areas of Nation Building & Governance; Job Creation; Public Health; Public Education, and Crime and Justice.
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