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Sunday, November 8, 1998 Published at 12:52 GMT

World: Africa

Mbeki slams South African corruption

Thabo Mbeki has complained of negative perceptions of South Africa

By Africa Correspondent Jeremy Vine

Many South African government posts are held by people who took their jobs with the sole intention of stealing, according to Deputy President Thabo Mbeki.

Speaking at the opening of the Gcuwa training centre at Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, Mr Mbeki said government employees appropriated public resources for themselves and then accused others of wrongdoing and demanded their resignation.

Some of them, he went on, are campaigning to be governors of the country to perpetuate their corruption.

The deputy president is clearly very concerned about the perception that corruption is beginning to thread itself into South Africa's provincial and national government structures.

Mr Mbeki, who is virtually certain to become president when Nelson Mandela steps down next year, frequently complains about negative perceptions of South Africa and he will know he is risking adding to them.

But that is a chance the ANC government is clearly prepared to take.

On Sunday, one senior figure said 'well, at least if you say a person is sick you are acknowledging the problem, and there is nothing to lose so long as you cure them'.

He added the government was determined to smash corruption and would be having an anti-corruption summit soon.

Among the administration's detractors is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who once accused ministers of only stopping the gravy train long enough for them to climb onto it.

With an election next year and South Africa so completely dominated by the ANC, its politics are bound to be susceptible to nepotism and other corrupt practices and Mr Mbeki acknowledged the problem was nationwide.

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