Citizens should not run to the media with complaints about corruption in government as this only caused “anger and agitation”, chief government spokesman Jimmy Manyi has said.
Addressing members of the Cape Town Press Club yesterday, Manyi said people should “respect the constitution” by reporting crimes to the police, where such issues can be “dealt with effectively”.
Manyi accused the media of blowing the levels of corruption in the civil service out of proportion particularly since the amounts of money involved were “insignificant” when compared to the trillion-rand national budget.
“In the discourse on corruption, all of us need to maintain the proper perspective that this administration is continuously exposing and punishing corruption. As more corruption is exposed, it does not necessarily mean that corruption is increasing, but rather displays the transparency of this government,” he said.
Manyi was quick to add that he was not condoning corruption “corruption is wrong, whatever shape or size” but that media reports about “one million here and one million there” were designed to paint a picture of a civil service on the verge of collapse.
“Add up all the corruption stories and you will see they pale into insignificance. I am not saying and you must get this right I am not saying even one rand should be corrupted … I am simply saying, put it into perspective and you will see that you are painting an incorrect picture a picture of near collapse, when there is nothing that is near collapse,” he said.
“And then you paint a picture as if the government is not aware and is not doing anything as if you are the only ones concerned with corruption,” he added.
Manyi complained that the media projected the image of a government that was losing the war against corruption when “this government is on top of its game” and has “zero tolerance for corruption”.
“It gets reported as if there is an increase in corruption when in fact government is uncovering all of it. Instead of the government being credited for getting to the bottom of it, we get punished as if we are losing the war on corruption when in fact we should be congratulated for being on top of our game,” he said.
Manyi then invited his audience to “show me an instance where government is aware of corruption and is not doing anything about it?”
This prompted several members of the audience to blurt out examples, including the arms deal and recent allegations against Minister Sicelo Shiceka, who is believed to have spent millions of taxpayers’ money to, among other things, visit a girlfriend in a Swiss prison last year. Without responding to these allegations, Manyi changed tack by urging patience and respect for “government processes”.
“No, no, no. Let’s have a proper conversation. Let me explain something to yourselves. In government, there is something called processes. Nothing just happens like in a spaza shop or something,” he said, adding that people should report incidents of corruption to the police, who would then “take the necessary steps”.
“Let’s rather deal with the fact that you have reported something and it hasn’t been dealt with, rather than just making all these glib comments about this and that. No,” replied a visibly ruffled Manyi.
“Let’s deal with facts because government is a body that is not emotional and is dealing (within) constitutional confines,” he said.
Manyi again urged citizens to “respect the constitution” by reporting crime to the police.
“Don’t write to the newspaper and then hope something is going to happen.
“That policeman there, the process does not allow him to go and read newspapers and open a docket because something is in the newspaper. But if you walk into the police station and report it that is where it is going to be dealt with”. - Political Bureau