According to Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaark, the head of the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity, and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit (PAEDTAU) at the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), rampant corruption within the Public Service potentially undermines efforts to attract foreign direct investment into South Africa and dampens much-needed economic growth, which is critical to addressing the nation’s socio-economic challenges.
“Our duty as public servants is to ensure that the principles of fairness, efficiency, and ethical conduct guide our actions,” said Dr Hoogenraad-Vermaark, speaking at the Second Roundtable on the Collective Action Against Corruption event on the sidelines of the Integrated Public Service Month (IPMS).
The event was hosted in partnership between the DPSA and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on 19 September 2023. The event is also a follow-up to the November 2021 launch of the South African leg of the OECD’s “Project Fair Market Conditions for Competitiveness in South Africa”, which seeks to garner society-wide support for anti-corruption efforts and promote integrity across all sectors, including government, civil society, and business.
Also participating in the Tuesday hybrid roundtable session were representatives from the targeted sectors, along with Mr Carlos Conde, Head of Division, Global Relations and Cooperation Directorate, Middle East and Africa Division, OECD.
In his opening remarks, Mr Conde said the roundtable was part of a series of events the OECD organised to support South Africa’s efforts to implement the National Development Plan 2030 objectives and the National Anti-corruption Strategy. The three-year Fair Market Conditions for Competitiveness in South Africa project, which began in 2021 and ends in 2024, will help strengthen South Africa’s existing anti-corruption initiatives and support collective action for promoting integrity, said Mr Conde.
This time around, the infrastructure and financial sectors were chosen as the basis for discussions and reflections for possible collective action by all stakeholders, mainly due to the prevalence of corruption in these areas. The Key inputs for the second roundtable discussions on the infrastructure sector were received from the Auditor General of South Africa, the National Prosecuting Authority, TRANSNET, and the Ethics Institute. On the other hand, representatives from First Rand Bank, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Ethics Institute led the discussion on the financial sector.
The third and final roundtable on the Fair Market Conditions for Competitiveness in South Africa project will be held in 2024, focusing on the following three main areas:
- Raising Awareness and Collective Action;
- Building Capacities; and
- Promoting International Standards in Academic Curricula
Established in 1948 to promote cooperation in trade and development, the OECD has over 50 member countries and Key Partners, who account for about 80% of global trade among them. South Africa is the only country of the nine on the African continent that has ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.