Decisive action on graft needed
WITH THE recent meeting of leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, now behind us, the real work begins on the local front.
Citizens in the developing and emerging countries like South Africa, in particular, had high hopes that leaders would finally have the courage to deliver and create a better world for all.
Interesting enough, the theme for this year’s gathering was “Responsive and responsible leadership”.
Undoubtedly pertinent and urgent answers that the citizens of the world – especially those from Africa – needed to hear relate to the action being taken now to reduce severe poverty, high unemployment and inequality.
Both on the international stage and locally, leaders must take decisive and urgent actions against the issue of corruption. Various studies show that corruption has far-reaching and devastating consequences for the African continent, resulting in stunted development, entrenched deep poverty levels, high unemployment and unacceptable inequality levels.
Reports suggest that corruption in the form of illicit financial flows continues to grow, resulting in billions of dollars being stolen out of Africa every year.
The continent lost an annual average of $60.3 billion, or around 4 percent of the gross domestic product, in illicit outflows between 2003 and 2012, according to an African Economic Outlook report, which was jointly published by the African Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations Development Programme.
The WEF argues: “Responsive and responsible leadership requires recognising that frustration and discontent are increasing in the segments of society that are not experiencing economic development and social progress.”
Fortunately, the City of Joburg under the leadership of the executive mayor Herman Mashaba has practically and publicly unleashed war on corruption, and the city is living up to the standards of responsive and responsible leadership.
The city’s plan of being a responsive government is more than just a tagline, but rather a practical intent that has seen the city recently pushing for arrest and suspension of those implicated in corrupt activities.
The city is working together with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that those found guilty of corrupt activities face the full might of the law.
It’s a clear commitment that the city takes allegations of corruption and fraud seriously. And it demonstrates that the city is aware that if corruption is not arrested, it has the capacity to collapse the system of governance and trust, and ultimately prevents the poor receiving services.
Responsive and responsible leadership requires leaders to confront the evil that is corruption head-on, realising that there is a lot to lose if the public purse is not safeguarded.
Corruption has devastating consequences in Africa
City of Joburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance