De­ci­sive ac­tion on graft needed

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - Dr Ra­belani Da­gada (PhD)

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

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