DPSA Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi

South Africa’s commitment to preventing and combating corruption is unquestionable, says Public Service and Administration Director-General, Ms Yoliswa Makhasi.

Speaking at the High-level roundtable on anti-corruption held in the Hague, Netherlands, Ms Makhasi said: “South Africa’s (SA) commitment to preventing and combating corruption is unquestionable. SA ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption and other Regional instruments like the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Protocol against Corruption.”

According to the Director-General, the country also enjoys political commitment to fight corruption at the highest level of government. In his State of the Nation Addresses, President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated his government’s commitment to fighting corruption in all its forms.

She said the State Capture Commission was established to uncover the level of corruption in the Country and make recommendations to prevent this level of corruption in the future. In South Africa, the DPSA is the focal point in the implementation of the UNCAC.  The DPSA coordinates all the Country’s efforts in the implementation of the UNCAC and participation in international fora on anti-corruption.

Further arrangements to lead different streams of the Convention are as follows:

  • Prevention and Implementation Review meetings – DPSA;
  • International Cooperation – the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD); and
  • Asset Recovery – the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

One of the objectives of the meeting according to Ms Makhasi is to adopt the Ministerial Statement of Principles.

“Most of the principles are aligned to South Africa’s approach to anti-corruption:  promoting good governance, human rights, and gender equality, strengthening the effective implementation of existing international instruments and commitments, involvement of civil society in the prevention and combating of corruption, and the use of technical assistance where required.

“South Africa itself has extended technical assistance to various countries through the Fast-tracking of the implementation of the UNCAC and other regional mechanisms like the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network of Southern Africa (ARINSA) programme.  There is also political will at the highest level to fight corruption in all its forms,” she said.

However, the DG also used the platform to raise some issues from the statement shared at the high-level roundtable. “The use of the term “grand corruption”… SA does not use this terminology in its anti-corruption legislation and policies.  Once SA endorses this Ministerial Statement of Principles, it will be difficult to implement it, unless the legislation is amended.

“SA is joined to the organisers of this high-level roundtable by the UNCAC.  UNCAC does not use that terminology and this was extensively discussed during the seventh session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention in 2017.

States Parties agreed to use the language contained in the UNCAC, which is “corruption involving vast quantities of assets” hence the title of resolution two of the seventh session of the COSP (Preventing and Combating Corruption involving vast quantities of assets).  [We recommend] that the language should be aligned to that of the UNCAC.

“At the core of the roundtable is to explore the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court. SA’s position on this issue should take into consideration the Country’s position on the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 2016, SA took a decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the ICC.  The International Anti-Corruption court is likely to operate like the ICC,” she said.

Ms Makhasi also told the gathering about the need to consult on how better they can enforce the international instrument working together with NPA and Office of Chief Justice as their capacity and willingness to participate in the programme. “It is not only capacity in terms of numbers but also skills and knowledge in the area of anti-corruption,” said DG Makhasi.