Sup­port SA’s new strat­egy to fight cor­rup­tion

CityPress - - Voices - Jeff Radebe voices@city­press.co.za

Cor­rup­tion is of­ten spo­ken about in so­cial cir­cles. Most peo­ple have an opin­ion about it and seem to agree that it is on the rise. Any­one read­ing the pre­vi­ous sen­tence would as­sume that we are re­fer­ring to South Africa. Not so. The re­al­ity is, cor­rup­tion has be­come per­va­sive through­out the world.

In May, an anti-cor­rup­tion sum­mit was ini­ti­ated and hosted in Lon­don by then UK prime min­is­ter David Cameron, who said: “Cor­rup­tion is the cancer at the heart of so many of our prob­lems in the world to­day. It de­stroys jobs and holds back growth, cost­ing the world econ­omy bil­lions of pounds ev­ery year.

“It traps the poor­est in the most des­per­ate poverty as cor­rupt gov­ern­ments around the world siphon off funds and pre­vent hard-work­ing peo­ple from get­ting the rev­enues and ben­e­fits of growth that are right­fully theirs.”

When one views the most re­cent global es­ti­mates on cor­rup­tion, there is no doubt that it is ram­pant. In May the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund said that pub­lic sec­tor cor­rup­tion “siphons $1.5 tril­lion to $2 tril­lion [R20.4 tril­lion to R27 tril­lion] an­nu­ally from the global econ­omy in bribes and costs far more in stunted eco­nomic growth, lost tax rev­enues and sus­tained poverty”.

Back home, the fight against cor­rup­tion is a ma­jor pri­or­ity of gov­ern­ment. We are faced with the re­al­ity of cor­rup­tion in the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor hav­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on our abil­ity to de­liver ef­fec­tive ser­vices to the peo­ple.

Also, many peo­ple view cor­rup­tion as some­thing that oth­ers do, or as a prob­lem that must be tack­led by gov­ern­ment. But in ef­fect, cor­rup­tion af­fects all of us.

When you slip a traf­fic of­fi­cer R50 to turn a blind eye to your in­dis­cre­tion, that is cor­rup­tion. So is pay­ing for your driver’s li­cence or at­tempt­ing to in­flu­ence busi­ness deals by means of a bribe – or an “en­cour­age­ment fee”, as some would call it. Ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion that in­volves us­ing money or other means to in­flu­ence an out­come un­fairly to your ben­e­fit – no mat­ter how small – is cor­rup­tion.

Sadly, th­ese sorts of in­ter­ac­tions hap­pen all too of­ten be­cause many peo­ple do not view them as cor­rup­tion.

As South Africans, let us com­mit to fight­ing cor­rup­tion in all its man­i­fes­ta­tions. Cor­rup­tion never be­gins and ends with one per­son. We must adopt a holis­tic ap­proach to fight­ing this scourge, and deal with the cor­rup­tor and the cor­rupted.

Our ac­tions count; it is within our power to de­ter­mine how we be­have. This point is re­in­forced in the state’s Na­tional Devel­op­ment Plan, which calls for the devel­op­ment of a so­ci­ety with zero tol­er­ance for cor­rup­tion.

In line with this vi­sion, South Africa is a sig­na­tory to the UN Con­ven­tion against Cor­rup­tion. Since the adop­tion of this con­ven­tion by the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in 2003, In­ter­na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Day has been ob­served an­nu­ally on De­cem­ber 9.

In com­mem­o­ra­tion of this day – just past – we should take stock of our achieve­ments in fight­ing cor­rup­tion and re­flect on the chal­lenges that re­main. This is also a chance to raise pub­lic aware­ness of the need for every­one in so­ci­ety to stand up and be counted in the war against cor­rup­tion.

We plan to launch an anti-cor­rup­tion dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment, which will form the ba­sis for wider con­sul­ta­tions re­gard­ing the devel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of a Na­tional An­tiCor­rup­tion Strat­egy.

Hav­ing na­tional con­sen­sus on how we tackle cor­rup­tion as a so­ci­ety is cru­cial. It is about get­ting a set of ideas and norms that we all buy into and fight to pro­tect.

The all-en­com­pass­ing Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Strat­egy will em­anate from the dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment, which will have the in­put of gov­ern­ment, busi­ness, labour and civil so­ci­ety.

Do you be­lieve that gov­ern­ment’s strate­gies are ef­fec­tive in tack­ling cor­rup­tion?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word COR­RUP­TION and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

It will serve as our joint dec­la­ra­tion against cor­rup­tion in any form and her­ald a res­o­lute com­mit­ment to an eth­i­cal and ac­count­able state, and clean gov­er­nance in busi­ness and civil so­ci­ety sec­tors. It will also sig­nal a com­mit­ment by those in po­si­tions of power to act with in­tegrity, while in­cul­cat­ing a so­ci­ety where cit­i­zens are aware of their rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, re­spect the rule of law and are em­pow­ered to hold those in power to ac­count.

Gov­ern­ment is aware that some may scoff at such lofty ideals, or de­cry this as yet an­other plan. Such crit­i­cisms are wel­comed and will no doubt form part of the na­tional de­lib­er­a­tions em­a­nat­ing from the dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment and the even­tual strat­egy taken.

This process is not hap­pen­ing in iso­la­tion. It will strengthen our ex­ist­ing anti-cor­rup­tion arse­nal. This in­cludes the adop­tion of a code of con­duct for the pub­lic ser­vice, as well as the es­tab­lish­ment of spe­cialised anti-cor­rup­tion units such as the SA Po­lice Ser­vice’s or­gan­ised crime unit.

Th­ese are fur­ther com­ple­mented by the direc­torate of pri­or­ity crimes, AKA the Hawks, and the as­set for­fei­ture unit in the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity which in­cludes the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Centre.

Our ef­forts are also en­hanced by spe­cialised com­mer­cial crime courts and the creation of the na­tional and sec­toral an­ticor­rup­tion hot­lines. Th­ese ex­ist along­side the anti-cor­rup­tion task team, which was formed to fast-track in­ves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tion. Fur­ther­more, we have co­or­di­nated the work of state or­gans com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors through the anti-cor­rup­tion in­ter­min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee.

Th­ese ac­tions in fight­ing cor­rup­tion ul­ti­mately en­sure that we move South Africa for­ward. But we re­quire the help of all South Africans. The fact is, cor­rup­tion can­not flour­ish if we all take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity to stop it.

Gov­ern­ment ap­peals to all sec­tors of so­ci­ety to get in­volved in draft­ing the Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Strat­egy. Let us make it our blue­print for a coun­try that has zero tol­er­ance for cor­rup­tion. Radebe is min­is­ter in the pres­i­dency for plan­ning, per­for­mance,

mon­i­tor­ing, eval­u­a­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion

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