Setsoto steps up fight against fraud

Setsoto Local Municipality has set up a 24-hour hotline for people to report corruption, as the eastern Free State local authority steps up efforts to stamp out fraud and other bad practices by council officials, members of the public and businesses.

The toll-free line that is known as the Municipal Fraud and Corruption Hotline and is the first to be set up by a municipality in the province  was launched at a special event last week at the Clocolan town hall, about 162km east of Bloemfontein.

Municipal manager Tshepiso Ramakarane said the purpose of the hotline is to try and curb fraud and corruption in the municipality by involving members of the community as the watchdogs.

“The launch of the hotline is part and parcel of the municipality’s drive towards clean governance and transparency,” he said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Ramakarane urged members of the public to report cases of misconduct by council officials which constitute fraud and other malpractices, saying it was part of the municipality’s zero tolerance for fraud and corruption.

“The assumption when you establish this kind of mechanism is that you have a responsible and informed citizenry because we would want to get reports that will ensure greater accountability on the part of municipal officials,” he said.

“We do not want members of the community to be irresponsible and abuse this facility by making false reports.

“We would like to see the hotline being put to good use.”

According to the municipality, officials fingered in any illegal deals will be called to account and may face criminal charges.

A statement released by the local authority this week stated that fraud posed a significant risk to the municipality’s assets, service delivery efficiency and reputation.

“The municipality will not tolerate corrupt or fraudulent activities, whether internally or externally . . . and will vigorously pursue and prosecute any parties engaging in such practices or attempting to do so,” read part of the statement.

The municipality said people can report anonymously any suspicious activities by council workers.

The municipality says the whistle-blowers are required to give a brief explanation of the incident, time of the incident, the perpetrator and maybe evidence such as photos etc.

The hotline number is 086 072 6325 and evidence can be emailed to fraud@setsoto.co.za or faxed to 088 051 933 5374.