Lack of consequences for wrongdoers perpetuating culture of something for nothing in SA society: Deputy Public Protector

Lack of consequences against wrongdoers is one of the many factors that perpetuated an increased culture of something for nothing that is taking over our society, Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kevin Malunga said on Friday.

Addressing the Umtapo anti-corruption symposium in Durban, Adv. Malunga said it was a problem that many people considered doing business with state as the only way of getting the riches and this opened gap for the corrupt manipulation of systems.

He observed that current efforts to ensure that those who had been caught engaging in corrupt activities were properly disciplined and given the punishment they deserved were not enough.

The Deputy Public Protector said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in particular should do more to ensure that corruption related cases were being taken to courts and assets that were corruptly acquired seized.

“Our concern is that we are not seeing corruption related cases and people being arrested and prosecuted for corruption,” Adv. Malunga said.

He said it was important that the prosecuting authority and the asset forfeiture unit of the state worked together to ensure that any ill-gotten assets were clawed back and the proceeds taken back into the state coffers.

Asked about what could be encouraging people to engage in corrupt activities, Adv. Malunga answered that greed also comes out as one of the causes.

The Deputy Public Protector said it was concerning to note that some who meddled with the allocation of contracts, were well-remunerated.

This phenomenon, the Deputy Public Protector told the delegates who packed a conference hall at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), is at times attributed to people who want to live lifestyles that were beyond their means.

Drawing an example from his recent benchmarking exercise at the Singapore’s anti-corruption arm, the corrupt practises investigation bureau, Adv. Malunga said the East Asian country had made significant inroads in its fight against corruption.

“In Singapore,” Adv. Malunga said, “one of their strategies to curb corruption especially in the public sector is by paying public servants better wages to discourage them from engaging in corrupt activities.”

He however warned that he was not insinuating that better wages would straight away eliminate corruption.

Adv. Malunga said the cancer of corruption needed a collaborative approach to eliminate and no individual or organisation should own an anti-corruption narrative.

The Deputy Public Protector likened an anti-corruption movement to a relay team where every role player has a responsibility to ensure that his team finished well and won the race.

This, Adv. Malunga said, called for more action from civil society organisations like Umtapo to ensure that among others, his office’s findings and remedial action were complied with and wrongdoers were prosecuted.

Others speakers included Corruption Watch’s Executive Director, David Lewis, Dr Mpilo Sithole from Public Service Commission in KwaZulu-Natal and Ms Bongi Mlangeni from Social Justice Initiative.

Delivering the closing remarks, ambassador of Finland to the country, his Excellency Petri Solo, said corruption was a cancer-like problem in our society that needed collaborative efforts to root out.

Ambassador warned that because of corruption, people exercising power especially public power often tend to forget they were there to serve the people not their interests.

The symposium was organised by Umtapo in association with the DUT and with the support of embassy of Finland.

For more info

Ms Kgalalelo Masibi
Spokesperson: Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7006
079 507 0399

Published Date: 
Sunday, March 13, 2016