Corrupt officials must be brought to book

Jabu Mvuseli, Mfuleni

Allegations that there are government officials who have written illegal eviction letters and attempted to syphon bribes from unsuspecting individuals and communities living on state land are disturbing.

These claims should be thoroughly investigated and those crooked officials be criminally charged and sentenced.

Government is taking steps to address the long-standing critical issue of land reform, but people who are entrusted to perform that duty are found to be the ones who want to derail the process.

This unscrupulous behaviour should be condemned and reported to the police, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza and the office of the acting director-general, Mooketsa Ramasodi.

We’ve seen through the Zondo Commission and other fraud and corruption cases that crime is a two-way stream. It requires a perpetrator and an enabler in order for it to take place.

Those who are approached by officials who want to be bribed to access land should be careful that by paying the bribe, they’re playing the role of “enablers”.

South Africans have lost enough through fraud and corruption. Corrupt government officials should be rooted out of the public service. What’s more appalling is that they’re so brazen to use a credible process such as the Land Rights Inquiry Process, which seeks to ensure that all state-owned land is accounted for.

Minister Didiza did well to quell the allegations that it is the State that wants to remove people from its land, as she addressed a media briefing which gave an update on the progress made on the release of agricultural state land.

“The land rights inquiry process won’t destabilise farmers who have been farming and producing in the past. But it seeks to put in place a state land administration and management systems that ensure security of land tenure, stability and provide an opportunity for sustainable food security and economic growth,” said the minister.