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S.Africa to stop public workers doing business with state

South African public servants will be banned from doing business with the state as part of a drive to stop corruption, the government said Thursday.

Public services minister Lindiwe Sisulu said the level of conflict of interests was “alarmingly high” and “conducive to a corruptive environment”.

“Therefore we needed to remove it,” she was quoted by Eyewitness News as saying.

The state is a huge income generator in South Africa, sparking the rise of a group of people known as “tenderpreneurs” who secure lucrative contracts.

Scandals are commonplace with up to 30 billion rand ($3.2 billion) of the state’s procurement budget lost annually to graft, incompetence and negligence, according to 2011 estimate by a state-backed watchdog.

Public workers are currently allowed to have business interests and to do work with the government.

“There’s a lot of unethical things that are happening,” Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesman for the public service ministry told AFP.

“We are finding that government officials are colluding with each other, issuing each other with tenders left, right and centre.”

A database of workers found guilty of wrongdoing will also be set up.

The ministry is hoping to implement the changes, which will require a legislative amendment, by June.