Governments and businesses around the world lose large amounts of money each year because of fraud and corruption. These unethical practices mean people who need services the most – like children, disabled people and the elderly – are the ones who suffer, while criminals reap the benefits.
Corruption and fraud
Corruption can take many forms, but basically it happens when someone uses their position of power or authority for personal gain or to benefit someone else.
Here are some examples:
- asking for a bribe,
- offering or accepting a bribe,
- manipulating a process or system,
- taking friends and family members on official trips, or
- giving contracts to friends and family.
Corruption can often be difficult to spot, though. At times a honest business relationship can be blurred with a corrupt relationship, especially when it comes to activities such as working lunches and off-site meetings. However, the best question to ask is "If I accept this, will it unfairly influence my professional decisions?" If the answer is yes, then there's a risk of corruption occurring.
Corruption is closely linked to fraud and theft. Fraud happens when someone lies to benefit themselves, or people they know, usually in a financial way. Theft is when someone takes money or goods that don't belong to them.
These are illegal actions and can happen at any level of the private sector and government. The South African government has created structures to help combat corruption, fraud and theft in the public service.
National Public Protector
The Public Protector investigates alleged misconduct involving the state. This includes public officials at all levels, from central and provincial government to state departments, local authorities and state-owned enterprises.
The Public Protector has the power, as regulated by national legislation:
- To investigate any conduct in state affairs, or in the public administration in any sphere of government, that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice.
- To report on that conduct.
- To take appropriate remedial action.
You can report suspected misconduct to the Public Protector via their toll-free number on 0800 11 20 40 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to report fraud and corruption
You can help fight corruption, fraud and theft in government by phoning the national toll-free anti-corruption hotline on 0800 701 701.
Any incidents of corruption, fraud, theft and misuse of government property in the Western Cape Government can be reported to the Forensic Audit Component anonymously by post, telephone, fax or email at the following details:
- Street address: 9 Riebeek Street, Fourth Floor, Atterbury House, Cape Town
- Postal address: PO Box 659, Cape Town, 8000
- Email: Tip.Offs@westerncape.gov.za
- Toll-free: 0800 701 701
- Tel: 021 483 0901/ 0931
- Fax: 021 483 0928
Read more about how to report corruption, fraud and theft.
You can also find out more about South Africa's campaign against corruption at the National Anti-Corruption Forum.