SPEECHES: Message of support by Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo for the international anti-corruption day

Date: 10 Dec 2012

Programme Director

Chairperson and members of the National Anti-Corruption Forum Chairperson of the Public Service Commission Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa Ladies and Gentleman All protocol observed.

It is my pleasure and honour to address you at this important event as we celebrate the International Anti-Corruption Day.

On 31 October 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties.

The Assembly also designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing corruption. The Convention entered into force in December 2005. South Africa signed the convention on 09 December 2003 and ratified it on 22 November 2004.

The ratification of the Convention meant that South Africa as a member State is responsible for the obligations to:

  • Promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption;
  • Promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption, including in asset recovery; and
  • Promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property.

These obligations are not the responsibility of government alone. The entire society has a role to play in the fight against corruption. We have come together as the National Anti-corruption Forum, representing different sectors of society to fulfil the obligation to combat corruption in our society. Central to the fight against corruption is a strong commitment by all stakeholders. The concept of a collaborative mechanism is not a bad idea at all. Let us recommit ourselves as the NACF to work together to eradicate corruption in our country.

We acknowledge that corruption is a global phenomenon that basically affects all of us. We can no longer remain silent about the threat posed by corruption on humanity. If it means that every year we have to remind ourselves of the problems caused by corruption, we shall do so with the hope that the message will be heard by everyone and people will change their attitude towards corruption.

Our country has lost an unquantifiable amount of money due to corruption. This is money that could have been utilized in programmes targeting poverty alleviation, service delivery and the general up-liftment of our people. Although all of us are affected by corruption, the impact falls most heavily on the poor who get deprived of their basic rights and access to quality services. Therefore, it is the responsibility for all of us to fight corruption.

When it comes to efforts to eradicate corruption, we have had successes and failures. We shall not loose courage to strengthen our measures to eradicate corruption. I am deeply encouraged that despite a few setbacks here and there, we have not retreated and hid(den) in despair. We are not going to be despondent at the face of challenges we are experiencing in the war against corruption. We all accept that it is a difficult terrain of the battlefield but nonetheless, it is not an insurmountable problem.

Corruption is compromising the gains we attained in our endeavour to build a national democratic society. For us to overcome corruption, we need to display the following attributes at all levels of society:

  • A collaborative approach cemented by will and commitment;
  • A visionary leadership with a strong decision-making acumen
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Fostering team work
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Inspiring others to accomplish important tasks
  • Creativity and innovation

Government is pleased to work with both local and international partners in the fight against corruption. We acknowledge the work done by the business sector, particularly the initiatives to raise awareness about the harmful effects of corruption in the business sector. I am told that about 1500 business officials have undergone training on anti-corruption and that young business professionals are going through a mentorship programme on business integrity. We also acknowledge the work done by the Civil Society in their efforts to combat this scourge. We are pleased by the establishment of the Corruption Watch which is an important initiative to encourage whistleblowing. The information portal on corruption by the Institute of Security Studies is yet another progressive measure towards ensuring clean and transparent governance. We urge and support both business and civil society to continue in their efforts to fight corruption in their respective sectors.

As government we still maintain that we have sound anti-corruption framework inclusive of both strong legislative and institutional mechanisms. It is important to emphasize that the fight against corruption is ongoing and as new manifestations of corruption are revealed it shows gaps in the application of existing legislation and policies.

As part of the UN Convention review process, South Africa underwent a review in September 2012 on the on the implementation of the Convention. The aim of the review was to evaluate the progress made in implementing both Chapter 3 and 4 of the UN Convention. These chapters deal with criminalization and law enforcement; and International cooperation. The executive summary report has been released by the UNODC and is now available. The report highlights the following successes and best practices in the implementation of the convention:

  • South Africa has a detailed mechanism to facilitate investigation of suspected cases of illicit enrichment by public officials;
  • The country has comprehensive conviction-based and non-conviction-based forfeiture mechanism;
  • South Africa has an established Committee on Extradition to improve the effectiveness of extradition mechanism; and
  • South Africa has utilized the UN Convention as a legal framework to enforce law.

It is important to note that as nation we have achieved some milestones in the implementation of United Nations Convention against Corruption. This achievement unfortunately is overshadowed by stories of corruption that we often hear about on a daily basis. These stories contribute towards the creation of a strong perception that South Africa is very corrupt country. I must indicate that this perception is based on real experiences. The evidence gathered by the National Planning Commission demonstrates high-levels of corruption that continue to undermine the rule of law and hinder the state’s ability to achieve development and socioeconomic transformation.

As we observe the International Anti-corruption Day here today, every one of us must see the need to take action against corruption. On behalf of government, I would like to deliver this message of support for the joint international campaign spearheaded by the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The Government of South Africa is in agreement with the UN that we have to “ACT against corruption today”. In supporting this campaign, this is what we have done:

  • The Department of Public Service and Administration has published the campaign banner on its website;
  • The North West and Gauteng Governments have conducted various activities in their communities to observe the International Anti-corruption Day;
  • The ACT against corruption logo can be seen in various publications and materials designed by government;
  • The DPSA has also broadcasted a message on radio and television to support this campaign.

Programme Director, we are aware that these are just symbolic gestures by nonetheless they represent a strong spirit against corruption. We shall continue in various ways to curb corruption. Because we know that we do not have the monopoly of wisdom on anti-corruption, we invite anyone to assist us as we seek practical solutions to uproot corruption in our society.

I thank you

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