The fraudulent activities that have wounded the country’s democracy has also shaken South Africans faith in government institutions, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Corruption has wounded our democracy and shaken people’s faith in our institutions. If corruption is not arrested, the greatest damage will not be in the funds stolen, the jobs lost, or the services not delivered.

“The greatest damage will be to the belief in democracy itself,” said President Ramaphosa while delivering his keynote address at the 2023 National Dialogue on Anti-Corruption in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The President told key role players and members of the society brought together at the dialogue to contribute towards the fight against corruption that fraudulent activities carry a huge opportunity cost in that economic growth is stifled, and businesses suffer.

He said as the country celebrates 30 years of democracy; it is everyone’s shared responsibility to build a society in which corruption has no place.

According to President Ramaphosa, the Constitution, which embeds the values of social justice, human dignity, accountability, transparency, and the rule of law, is the most powerful instrument available to fight crime and corruption.

He further said South Africans are the guarantors of the integrity of the political, social, and economic life of the country.

State Capture

President Ramaphosa said the establishment of the State Capture Commission was an affirmation of the strength of South Africa’s democracy.

“It was the people of South Africa, in all their formations, who stood up against state capture and who, through their democratic institutions, took action to end it.

“The completion of the work of the State Capture Commission was a watershed moment in our history.

“Not only did the Commission lay bare the extent and depth of state capture, but it also presented the country with the means to both remedy the great harm caused by state capture and to create the conditions that would prevent its recurrence.

“Viewed overall, the recommendations of the State Capture Commission have provided the country with a clear way forward.

“What the Commission laid bare was the extent to which corruption had become so pervasive across the state and across society.

“While it was charged with investigating specific activities at a certain time in our history, the State Capture Commission revealed that corruption is a far broader societal challenge,” he said.

The National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council

The National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council is a multi-sectoral advisory body appointed by President Ramaphosa in August 2022 with the view to oversee the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) and to advise on the future of the country’s anti-corruption institutional architecture.

“As part of this effort (State Capture Commission), last year, I appointed this National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council to advise government on the measures necessary to address the structural causes and consequences of corruption in South Africa.

“Part of the work of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council is to provide advice on the implementation of the policy and institutional reforms contained in the recommendations of the State Capture Commission.

“Over the last five years, we have invested significant resources to rebuild the law enforcement agencies and other bodies that were devastated by state capture,” he said.

In November 2020, Cabinet adopted the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, whose six strategic pillars anchor the deliberations of this National Dialogue.

According to President Ramaphosa, the Strategy is an ‘anti-corruption compact’, since it is all-of-society effort to achieve an ethical and accountable state, business and society characterised by high levels of integrity and respect for the rule of law.

The Strategy fills an important gap in that it focuses on preventive measures that complement the actions of our law enforcement agencies and Constitutional bodies in responding to corruption.

“The Strategy aims to stop corruption before it occurs. The areas it covers include ethical leadership, protection and support for whistleblowers, the integrity of procurement systems, and capacity building of staff in law enforcement agencies,” he said.

In 2021, the DPSA officially launched the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit which has no criminal jurisdiction or investigative mandate, but, as part of the Anti-Corruption Task Team, it collectively contributes to the fight against corruption.

The Unit has no criminal jurisdiction, and it does not have a mandate to investigate, but by referring reported corruption and unethical cases to relevant entities for investigation, the Unit play a role to ensure criminality in the Public Administration is detected.

The Unit refer cases to the Government Fraud, Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Unit, established in the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation, to investigate corruption of public servants.

It also refers non-criminal cases to the Public Service Commission, Public Protector or Auditor-General.