AMIDST THE POLITICAL CHAOS: NAVIGATING ACCOUNTABILITY AND CHANGE
Greetings to our dedicated OUTA supporters.
In the midst of the tumultuous political arena, we stand resolute and undistracted by the political noise and the public sector leadership circus that surrounds us. As we reflect on our past month's endeavours, we find ourselves immersed in projects that continue to uphold the principles of accountability and reform. Our commitment to holding those in power accountable remains unwavering, while we actively contribute to thinktank sessions and engage in vital discussions to elevate our nation from its current challenges.
A notable effort from our team is the recent initiative to address and challenge the unjustified increases to rates and taxes, through excessive property valuations in Joburg and numerous municipalities around South Africa. This practice, aimed at extracting more from property owners, coincides ironically with declining service delivery and financial mismanagement by people entrusted to manage our local government affairs. Such actions only serve to amplify our determination to champion fairness and transparency.
Additionally, our attention has been directed to the unsettling situation at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). We've brought to light the alarming pattern of excessive payments for services and goods by Andile Nongogo, whose actions whilst he was CEO at the Services SETA have been outrageous and unacceptable for a person in this position. Our investigations have also exposed serious concerns relating to tenders awarded on the NSFAS payment process. These issues and developments raise serious concerns due to their financial implications but also the potential of something like this happening again, at the expense of taxpayers. Our determination to expose questionable conduct remains steadfast and we need to see the harshest sentences meted out to Mr Nongogo.
A solemn occasion on August 23rd commemorated the second anniversary of Babita Deokoran's passing. Babita, a senior manager at the Gauteng Health Department, courageously exposed corruption within Tembisa hospital and the department's procurement of PPE. Her role included assessing contracts and expenditure, and this led to her blowing the whistle on corrupt contracts. Sadly, her courage cost her life, underscoring the dire need for accountability and justice in cases where corruption thrives. The absence of consequences in the face of overwhelming evidence highlights the importance of our continuous pursuit of truth and justice. OUTA stands unwavering in its mission to ensure that the culprits are held responsible for corruption and Babita's tragic fate.
August has also seen the launch of a new venture for OUTA, being that of Joburg Community Action Network – JoburgCAN. After months of collaboration with various community organisations, we've established this entity to hold those in power within the City of Johannesburg accountable for poor governance and service delivery. JoburgCAN embodies our commitment to collaborative efforts that drive meaningful transformation and demand responsibility from those who hold authority. More about JoburgCAN will feature in the coming months.
In conclusion, I find myself considering the noise of the political landscape recently. The approaching 2024 national elections have amplified the noise that was once easily dismissed. With the emergence of new parties, independent candidates, ongoing debates on electoral reform, and business involvement in addressing government inefficiencies, it's clear that the challenges we face as a nation are far from dwindling. The need for effective governance resounds strongly, and our collective efforts must be directed towards shining a light on the many issues we face, whilst holding the responsible parties accountable. It also inspires us to see many civil society organisations aligned in our collective pursuits to make a difference. Together, we can achieve remarkable change, and as I always say, with greater support, our impact can only grow.
Thank you to our unwavering supporters who believe in our mandate. Your dedication and support drive us forward, and we urge you to spread the word and encourage more to join our cause.