Ill-gotten benefits should be paid back – Public Protector

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Friday stressed the point that government should seek to claw back any ill-gotten public funds that are the spin-offs of corrupt and collusive practices.

Speaking during a Freedom Day seminar of the Competition Commission, the Public Protector said the biggest losers in corrupt and collusive dealings were the public, particularly the poor.

“Collusion and corruption are related and sometimes intertwined crimes of dishonesty,” she said, during a talk focused on the link between the two practices. “They yield undeserved benefits for perpetrators at the expense of innocent third parties.”

A business environment where corruption and collusion were prevalent, the Public Protector said, left fair trade and commerce undermined.

International bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Transparency International and United Nations Global Business Compact had taken a firm stand against such practices, she said.

This was because of the uneven national and international trade environment and unstable economies and democracies that such practices leave in their wake.

The Public Protector lauded the Competition Commission for the good work the institution has done over the years, including the crackdown on cartels that colluded on the construction of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadia and those that fixed the price of bread.

She told attendees that her office had also been approached with alleged collusive practices in the auctioning of houses, including RDP homes.

Like the Competition Commission, the Public Protector had also been approached to investigate the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadia construction, she said. The office had also dealt with a matter involving alleged collusion in a report titled “Docked Vessels”.

Encouraging synergies between the work of her office and Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele’s, the Public Protector said coordinated collaborations between institutions in the integrity sector ensured that no cases fell through the cracks.

Meanwhile the Public Protector used the opportunity to appeal to South Africans to desist from racist and xenophobic atrocities unleashed against foreign nationals and South Africans of foreign origin.

“It is important to note that these human beings are entitled to the rights enshrined in our Constitution, including life, human dignity and equality, simply because they are human beings,” she said, adding that “they don’t need to be citizens or to behave well [to enjoy these rights]”.

The Public Protector applauded government and South African residents and citizens for their condemnation of the attacks.

“We applaud government for its swift action and we trust the police and the rest of the criminal justice system to bring the perpetrators to book expeditiously,” she said, adding that this should include the unresolved crimes committed since 2008.”

For more information, contact:

Oupa Segalwe
Acting Spokesperson
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7035
072 264 3273

Published Date: 
Friday, April 24, 2015