Welcoming Address On the Development of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy
Honourable Premier of the Western Cape, Ms Helen Zille
Honourable members of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament
Executive Mayors and Councillors
Leaders and representatives of Chapter 9 and 10 constitutional institutions
State institutions of the three spheres of government
Institutions of higher learning
Representatives of civil society
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to extend to you all a very warm welcome on behalf of the Premier of the Western Cape and the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Steering Committee led by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
We are indeed honoured to gather as a diverse group of stakeholders.
Whether in government, civil society, the criminal justice fraternity or risk assurance providers, we are all important role-players united in our resolve to fight corruption.
Today’s Stakeholder Consultation on corruption is both fitting and timely.
What I see happening in South Africa is that corruption is in autobahn.
I also see that there are still many civil servants are still doing business with government
One of the outcomes of this gathering that I am hoping for is that content and substance is given to the fight against corruption. This I believe, can be done by the online publishing of a list of the names of public servants doing business with government.
Not doing so is tantamount to saying we are not serious about fighting corruption.
Let’s get serious about corruption.
The 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International notes that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption.
The index ranked 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople and used a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
South Africa obtained a disconcerting score of 43.
Economic crime in South Africa is now reported to be at the highest level over a decade.
PwC's Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2018 finds that economic crime in South Africa continues to disrupt business, with this year’s results showing an increase in reported instances of economic crime in South Africa.
The survey revealed that 77% of South African organisations said that they experienced economic crime in the past two years.
One may ask the question why is South Africa in this situation?
- despite a Constitution with a comprehensive fundamental framework for creating good governance and promoting ethics and integrity in the public service; and
- despite many laws that regulate public financial management and procurement, that criminalises corruption and that establishes multiple institutions to fight corruption thrives.
I am the Minister of Finance in the Western Cape and it amazes me how people get away with stealing millions of rand in other provinces.
They steal from the poor.
What makes me nervous though is the talk about establishing a state bank.
My experience of a state bank was gained during my studies.
As part of my research I had to meet with the Tanzanian State Bank.
On arriving for my scheduled meeting I was met with the notice, This Bank is Permanently Closed.
So those who are advocating the establishment of a state bank at a provincial level need to be careful as it could become just another means to looting state coffers.
While I am the Minister of Finance in the Western Cape, there will not be a State Bank in the Western Cape.
We must be serious when we say we will fight corruption.
While the other eight provinces together with their 8 respective MECs of Finance are calling for the establishment of a State Bank, the Western Cape will not do so.
Chapter 10 of the Constitution in fact stipulates the basic values and principles governing public administration. These include:
- A high standard of professional ethics;
- Efficient, economic and effective use of resources;
- Impartial and fair service delivery to the people, whose needs must be responded to; and
- Transparent and accountable public administration.
When we read these things we must give substance to it.
We give substance by doing what what Helen Zille did in her first cabinet meeting 2009.
She called her Cabinet into the Cabinet Room and said that the first order of business is to reduce the benefits of Ministers.
That was the first order of business and how we gave substance to Section 195 of the Constitution.
How do we give substance and content? We do so by leading by example.
These principles apply to every sphere of government – national, provincial and local government, organs of state and public enterprises.
The other side of public sector corruption is of course a willing partner from the private sector to the corrupt relationship.
The aforementioned report on the PwC survey further notes that there is a realisation in the private sector that organisations must be proactive against corruption and that “…organisations, driven perhaps by a vigilant jury of public opinion, have become wary of not only the afflictions that may affect them but also the negative impact of being seen to be doing nothing. While the tone at the top is still seen as important, visible action from the top has become vital to survival.”
We know that it is a fallacy that corruption and economic crime have no tangible victims.
Corruption is a threat to all these constitutional imperatives.
Corruption depletes public resources meant for service delivery and diminishes the realisation of socio-economic rights and promises of the Constitution to housing, health care, food and water, social security and education.
Ultimately corruption erodes our constitutional democracy and contributes to social instability and populism.
Some commentators say that corruption is at a tipping point and that we are at risk that it may have become the social norm. Hence my comment that corruption is in the autobahn.
It is however encouraging that recently there seems to be a new drive to change and clean up.
Yesterday, Premier Zille and I met with the AGSA.
One of the questions the Premier posed to the AG was where are the consequences for maladministration, fraud and corruption?
We are however, satisfied that the Public Audit Bill has been published for public comment.
This body must make input into the Public Audit Bill to show that you are indeed serious about fighting corruption.
The Public Audit Bill will be followed by the publication of the supporting regulations.
This body is the appropriate body to make substantive inputs into the regulatory framework of the Public Audit Bill.
We have asked that the regulations be very specific iro Accounting Officers.
The Western Cape is of the view that the AGSA’s Management Report as well as reports on mismanagement should be tabled at Council Meetings.
These Council Meetings should be attended by the AGSA.
Fighting corruption must be taken to the pragmatic implementation level.
There is also renewed realisation of the importance of values and ethics. Ethical leadership in both the public and private sectors is particularly relevant as leaders’ influence extends beyond employees to a whole country.
Whether their leadership is good or bad it has the potential to impact on huge numbers of people.
We therefore need strong leadership that sets a clear ethical tone. Ethical leadership requires that leaders should not only act ethically themselves, but also create a conducive environment for others to act ethically.
Against this backdrop we are gathering today to consider a proposed National Strategy that interrogates these issues and seeks to find strategies and programmes to prevent and respond to corruption.
The purpose of this Stakeholder Consultation is to inform provincial stakeholders about the process that was followed in developing the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
This Strategy encapsulates 9 strategic pillars, from citizen empowerment and awareness of corruption, to improving transparency and the integrity of the public procurement system as well as strengthening oversight and anti-corruption agencies and improved consequence management.
The success of this consultation depends on you as the audience.
You are all important stakeholders in governance, oversight, assurance and anti-corruption.
Your experience and expertise in these disciplines and responding to corruption, will provide valuable inputs into the practicality and efficacy of the proposed measures.
The programme has been designed to provide you with ample opportunity to contribute, pose questions and make comments.
We sincerely appreciate your attending this important occasion and I wish you a lively and productive engagement.
I thank you.