Good governance conference calls for stronger sanctions against wrongdoing
South African oversight agencies on Tuesday resolved to approach the National Treasury to consider mechanisms that will result in the reduction of budgets for organs of state whose conduct occasion adverse findings from investigative institutions.
In resolutions that followed a high-level, two-day conference on good governance in Pretoria, delegates said the action, which seeks to strengthen sanctions against wrongdoing, should apply to all organs of state found to have engaged in wasteful and inefficient use of public funds, among other things.
Delegates consisted of Members of Parliament, national, provincial and local government officials, representatives from academia, civil society, the public sector, Chapter 9, 10 & 11 Institutions, the Diplomatic Corps and other spheres of society.
They encouraged organs of state to promptly respond and implement remedial actions as directed by oversight bodies.
The delegates pledged to consider a code of ethics for all people of South Africa, not limited to government officials. They declared their support for a national conference on ethics to be held in 2014 and encourage training in ethical leadership.
The delegates pledged to lead by example to promote and ensure good governance in their spheres of influence. They further vowed to work closer together in the spirit of cooperative governance to strengthen the governance value chain.
They stressed the need for whistleblowing and improved mechanisms to protect whistle-blowers, indicating that the current legal framework was not sufficient to fully protect whistle-blowers.
The delegates said they would continue lobbying for the increase of resources for oversight and good governance institutions, including for administrative support to be able to monitor and follow-up on the implementation of recommendations and findings.
“We commit ourselves to the efficient effective and economic use of scarce resources and effective performance management,” they said.
The delegates committed to serving marginalised and disempowered people through the increase of accessibility and improved responsiveness.
They also committed themselves to localised anti-poverty initiatives and to be more active in rural areas to address poverty in the most vulnerable pockets of society, noting the different needs of communities.
The conference was one of the activities that are taking place this week as part of the annual National Good Governance Week. It was held under the theme: "Good Governance and Poverty: Two Sides of the Same Coin."
The conference was addressed by several esteemed speakers, including Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela, Justice and Planning Ministers Jeff Radebe and Trevor Manuel, President of African Monitor, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane and Dr Barney Pityana, Rector of the College of Transfiguration.
The Week seeks to strengthen synergies among bodies within the oversight sector, including Parliament, the executive, the judiciary, Chapter 9, 10 and 11 institutions, civil society and the media. This is for purposes of forming a united front against bad governance.
On Thursday, October 24, an inter-faith prayer meeting for good governance will be held at Freedom Park in Pretoria. The aim is seek the assistance of the faith community in strengthening the moral fabric of society to enhance good governance.
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