Public Protector calls for strengthening of onslaught against corruption

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Monday reminded delegates attending the Commonwealth Lawyer’s Conference that bribery and corruption is as much a private sector problem as it is a public sector challenge. She added that the acceptance of petty or retail corruption, such as bribing traffic officer, as normal practice is the root of the problem regarding the prevalence of corruption.

The Public Protector was speaking at the 18th Commonwealth Lawyer’s Conference in Cape Town. Her address focused on “Anti-Bribery and Corruption in the Corporate World.” She said her office is one of several agencies that investigate allegations of corruption under the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act read. She also advised that her office’s mandate includes receiving protected disclosures from and protecting whistle-blowers under the Protected Disclosures Act.

The Public Protector informed delegates that corruption has become a complex practice that transcends the offering and acceptance of bribes or gratification.

“It is important to note that South African law does not restrict corruption to offering, solicitation and acceptance of bribes. Other forms of gratifications are given equal consideration. This is important given the fact that contemporary forms of corruption seldom take the form of straight bribes”, she said.

In her prepared speech, the Public Protector touched on the impact of corruption,
which she said includes the following: fiscal drain; overcharging, overbilling and false billing; service failure; negative impact on society and development, negative impact on the rule of the law; violation of human rights and discouragement of true entrepreneurship

The Public Protector further said whistle blowers constitute an essential part of an effective anticorruption strategy. She said in South Africa they are specifically protected by various laws, the key ones being the Protected Disclosures Act and the Witness Protection Act.

She concluded by sharing the following 10 do’s and don’ts to strengthen the onslaught against corruption:

  1. Maximise transparency and accountability
  2. Individuals to take a stand against bribery and other forms of corruption
  3. Management of Conflict of interest
  4. Strengthen and respect internal controls
  5. End Impunity
  6. Strengthen synergies between oversight agencies
  7. The rule of law
  8. Strengthen societal values
  9. Strengthen international collaboration
  10. Leaders to walk the talk

The delegates engaged the Public Protector through questions and comments on her work. Many of the questions related to defining what exactly constitutes corruption across various sectors. In one of her responses, the Public Protector it is important that those who make decisions about or deliver services avoid creating an impression that members of the public need to offer gifts to encourage swift and responsive service delivery. She discouraged the acceptance of gifts from beneficiaries of contracts and oversight successes work even if those gifts are received afterwards.

Issued by:
Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector South Africa
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399
Toll Free: 0800 11 20 40
Twitter: @PublicProtector
Facebook: Public Protector South Africa

Published Date: 
Monday, April 15, 2013