The Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Dr Chana Pilane-Majake, led a South African delegation at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working Group on Bribery (WGB) meeting that is taking place from 6 to 9 December 2022 at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris, France.
The Deputy Minister is leading the delegation at the meeting with the Technical Team composed of Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, Mr Thabang Molobela (Department of Public Service and Administration), and representatives from the National Prosecuting Authority, Adv Grace Mosetlha and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigationís Brigadier John Matroos and Brigadier Johan du Plooy.
The Deputy Minister addressed the WGB to reaffirm that South Africa is committed to fighting foreign bribery. In her address, the Deputy Minister expressed gratitude for the opportunity to address the Working Group on Bribery report on the Technical Mission to South Africa from 7th to 8th July 2022.
She said the December Working Group meeting falls in the run-up to 9 December, which is observed as International Anti-Corruption Day every year. South Africa commemorates Anti-Corruption Week from the 3 to 10 December culminating with the celebration of the UN Universal Declaration for Human Rights.
The Deputy Minister indicated to the WGB that South Africa acceded to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 2007 and that South Africa remains the lone member of the WGB from Africa 15 years later. This is an indication that South Africa is committed to combating crime and corruption in line with the OECD’s directive to develop better policies for better lives in order to promote prosperity, equality, opportunity, and well-being for all.
The Deputy Minister expressed her fervent hope that Mauritius’ application to join the WGB will open doors for additional African nations to join the Working Group.
The Deputy Minister said it was the Working Group’s meticulous evaluation procedures that allowed South Africa to modify and develop several pieces of law to address foreign bribery. She emphasized that South Africa established a Task Team where prosecutors and investigators, as well as support structures such as the Financial Intelligence Centre, meet on a monthly basis where they present progress reports and deliberate on new strategies to address challenges. This is a result of excellent cooperation between law enforcement agencies.
The feedback from the OECD’s technical mission to South Africa in July 2022 was also mentioned by the Deputy Minister. She said the mission represented a significant turning point in South Africa’s efforts to combat foreign bribery because it allowed the country to work with experts from around the world and gave the experts a better understanding of the difficulties the country faces in prosecuting such cases, particularly when dealing with investigations with its neighbours.
The Deputy Minister thanked the Secretariat for agreeing to organize a workshop on non-trial resolutions, which is a novel idea in South Africa. She assured the WGB, that South Africa remains resolute on the implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention and that South Africa will continue participating in the WGB, aimed at strengthening efforts against global foreign bribery.
Mr Thabang Molobela is an Ethics and Anti-Corruption Specialist positioned in the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity, and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit.