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report – shocking

Hundreds of thousands of public servants scratch around their desks or neighbouring colleagues’ desks for that elusive

and oh so necessary – black pen required to complete the paperwork.

A few millilitres of ink go a long way in growing South Africa together. These millilitres move officials from one office to another; sometimes one city to another, or one country to another.

These millilitres can be the start of feeding nearly 10 million poor learners at school each day, or they can enable action against cable theft.

These millilitres can signal the upgrade of an airport; the provision of blankets to patients in a public hospital;

or furniture for an interview room at a police station, where victims of gender-based violence are offered privacy and support.

 The puzzle pieces of delegations of authority, VAS2s, memoranda,

route forms and signatures all come together to form a picture of a changing

South Africa – the transformed nation envisioned in our National Development Plan’s Vision 2030.

The problem with this picture, though, is that not everyone uses the same puzzle pieces or arranges them in the same way.

The recently released Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is a sobering

and shocking chronicle of what happens when people try to work around the puzzle – or design their own.

The report is, however, redemptive in that its very existence shows how seriously President Cyril Ramaphosa

and the administration take the tasks of ending state capture and building a capable, ethical state.

The report tells numerous tales of malfeasance and wrongdoing involving billions of rands in government employees’ pension nest-eggs,

that will make public servants doubt why they bother to jump through

the hoops they do to settle a comparatively negligible R143 lunch or mileage claim.

The report illustrates in vivid and angering detail how it takes two, three, five or more to tango when it comes to perpetrating corruption

and maladministration – and how, unfortunately, there is no shortage of these takers.

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