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Sat Oct 01 14:06:46 SAST 2016

Patel urges more scrutiny for ministers

BIANCA CAPAZORIO | 23 September, 2016 06:45
Ebrahim Patel. File Photo.
Image by: Trevor Samson / Business Day

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel has called on President Jacob Zuma to sign into legislation a bill that provides for the scrutiny of the bank accounts of cabinet members.

Patel was backed up by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who said state capture by "parasites" threatened democracy.

The two ministers were both speaking at the SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union's national congress in Cape Town yesterday.

Patel said it was important that the government addressed "high levels of corruption in our ranks" and proposed lifestyle audits and the regulation of political party funding as a means to do this.

He said if officials appeared to be driving fancy cars they should be asked: "My dear comrade, where did you get this money?"

He said the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill should be signed into law so that banks could probe the finances of ministers and other public office bearers.

"They should look carefully at the financial transactions of prominent public figures like cabinet ministers to make sure that Ebrahim Patel, and all of us, can properly account for every cent that lands in our bank account."

The Fica Bill was passed by parliament this year but has yet to be signed into law by the president.

Nzimande said the looting of state-owned companies had the potential to destroy democracy.

"We must defend institutions that are crucial to our democracy and our state-owned companies are very important - Transnet, Eskom, many others, including the SABC - which is being run down by people who have no capacity to run the SABC," said Nzimande.

He called those looting state- owned companies the "parasitic bourgeoisie" and warned "if we allow parasites to steal our SOEs our democracy is dead.

"We don't want white minority capital. Or minority capital even if it's black. We will fight monopoly capital as we fight the Guptas."

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