Public Service Commission - News

South Africa Ready to Face Corruption Head-On

By Chief Directorate: Professional Ethics and Risk Management

National Anti-Corruption Forum

Deputy President Jacob Zuma launched the National Anti-Corruption Forum in Langa, Cape Town, on 15 June 2001. The forum was born of a cabinet decision following the National Anti-Corruption Summit in Cape Town in 1999. It is the world's first anti- corruption coalition between the public and private sectors and civil society.

To understand our country's approach to fighting corruption, it is important to also understand that we have a proud history of mobilising ordinary citizens, civil society and international communities to fight past oppression and corruption. So, fundamental to our approach to fighting corruption in contemporary society is to again mobilise ordinary citizens, civil society and the international community.

After a year of intense negotiations, the Sectors agreed to establish the National Anti-Corruption Forum in which each of the Sectors has 10 representatives. The objectives of the Forum established on 15 June this year are to-

  • Establish a national consensus through the co-ordination of sectoral anti-corruption strategies;
  • Advise Government on the implementation of strategies to combat corruption;
  • Share information and best practice on sectoral anti-corruption work; and
  • Advise each other on the improvement of sectoral anti-corruption strategies.

The fundamental approach of the Forum is that Sectors need to address corruption in sectoral specific ways, but that co-ordination and integration of the sectoral strategies are required to support a national anti-corruption strategy. The national anti-corruption strategy then also caters for those activities residing with the State, such as establishing legislation, the judiciary and implementation of international instruments.

In the National Anti-Corruption Forum, long-term strategies will be combined between the various sectors to minimise corruption. It is hoped that this beginning will have great and long lasting effects, which will continue to build on the success of 1994 and beyond.

Public Sector Anti-Corruption Strategy

South Africa's national Executive recently instructed the Public Service to develop a revised and improved Public Sector Anti-Corruption Strategy. This revised strategy must, amongst other dictates, make the institutions fighting corruption and promoting transparency more efficient. Accordingly a process has commenced to review corruption and related legislation in order to-

  • Extend the scope of the legislation to all sectors;
  • Minimise the fragmentation of the legislation;
  • Improve elements of detection, prevention, investigation;
  • Improve capabilities to address corruption on administrative, criminal, civil and recovery levels; and
  • Introduce prohibitions on corrupt individuals and businesses.

The emerging revised Public Sector Anti-Corruption Strategy will be supported by intensive education, training and awareness activities.

These activities will involve the implementation of National Anti-Corruption Summit Resolutions, which indicated that Anti-Corruption hotlines be established in order to promote a culture of honesty in the workplace. In this regard measures that would detect and prevent fraudulent behaviour by both the public and the employees will be put in place.

Concomitantly, and as training aids, videos on the code of conduct and Anti-Corruption workshops will be developed. Additionally, the explanatory Manual on the code of conduct is being reviewed and revised. Hopefully copies of the Manual will be made available in a pocket size booklet for over 1 Million Public Service employees. As part of our educational programme, an Anti-Corruption short course took place from the 16 - 20 July 2001 at the University of Pretoria. It was be presented in collaboration with the Centre for Business and Professional Ethics of Pretoria University and consultants from Australia.

Country Corruption Assessment

On the 9th of March this year, South Africa also became an active participant of the Global Programme against Corruption. In terms of our partnership agreement with the SADC Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, South Africa will this year conduct a thorough country corruption assessment.

This information will be used to develop long-term strategies. The intention is to use this assessment as a baseline for measuring progress when this assessment is repeated in three years time. In the short term, obvious and apparent corruption will be tackled head-on.

Article compiled by Dr Sandii Baai, Marie van Blerk and Roderick Davids



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