More civil society action needed to fight corruption- Public Protector

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has asked the civil society to go beyond just complaining about what was wrong and offer solutions to help fight corruption in the world.

Such action needed to be coordinated.

She was speaking during the international civil society week conference in Johannesburg on Sunday. The event was organised by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa and the Open Society Foundations under the theme Combatting Corruption in Africa.

Such action, the Public Protector said would help the continent fight corruption which risked derailing the noble visions such as the National Development Plan and the African Union’s, Vision 2063.

“I invite civil society to develop an instrument that looked beyond people just declaring conflict of interest,” the Public Protector said, “but also making sure that decision-making in government was not influenced by conflict of interest.”

While commending the already existing civil society organisations such as Corruption Watch, the Public Protector said more needed to be done as corruption kept getting sophisticated and failure to adapt would see it winning the battle.

She warned that modern corruption went beyond bribes and included failure to monitor conflict of interest. The Public Protector added that it was rare for people to give themselves or close relatives tenders but opted for companies which could give them something in return.

To curb this scourge, the Public Protector added, there was a need for a common definition of corruption and what behaviour went with being anti-corruption.

“If we had a common understanding of what behaviour goes with being anti-corrupt, there should not be too much debate because we know what is good and bad,” she said.

The Public Protector further advised there was an urgent need to reconcile behaviour with, among others, the African Union instruments on shared values, the South African constitution and its laws.

Asked what danger corruption posed to the continent, the Public Protector warned that corruption took away rational decision-making and a right to equality.

She warned that where playing fields were not level due to irrational decision-making influenced by corrupt activities, communities were likely to suffer poor service delivery which often led to service delivery protests.

This, the Public Protector added, was often at the center of many conflicts which resulted in loss of innocent lives.

“If there is water, electricity, it is unlikely that people will follow whoever says let’s go to the streets, but if there isn’t people are likely to take to the streets,” she warned.

The Public Protector called on decision-makers to familiarise themselves with instruments aimed at fighting corruption while promoting good governance. She gave an example of the African Union Declaration Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance, the Convention on Prevention and Combatting Corruption and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) protocol against Corruption

She also told delegates, mainly drawn from various countries across the globe, that promoting good governance and strengthening constitutional bodies was key to eliminating corruption.

The Public Protector noted that progress was being made but more needed to be done to ensure that not only Africa but the whole world won the battle against corruption.

For more information, contact:

Oupa Segalwe
Acting Spokesperson
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7035
072 264 3273
Twitter: @PublicProtector Facebook: Public Protector South Africa

Published Date: 
Monday, November 24, 2014