The new plan to tackle corruption in South Africa

 ·4 Sep 2023

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) has created a new guide to tackle business corruption in South Africa.

The insitute created the guide with funding from Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA).

Although the public sector in South Africa is mainly seen as the epicentre of corruption in South Africa, several corporate scandals, such as those at Steinhoff, Tongaat Hulett and EOH, are clear examples of businesses with corruption at their core.

BLSA CEO Busiswe Mavuso noted that a strong criminal justice system is required to ensure that corruption in all forms is tackled, which is why the organisation is providing resources to the National Prosecuting Authority.

Mavuso added that several other countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Rwanda, have been able to turn the tide against corruption, adding that the Zondo Commission could be a turning point in South Africa’s battle.

The GIBS report has looked at several international frameworks to create anti-corruption guidelines and sets out eight key principles:

  • The tone from the top or the role of the board – ensuring that the right culture is set and insulating anti-corruption efforts in the business from outside pressure.

  • Adopting and publishing an anti-corruption policy publicly and demonstrating a commitment to zero tolerance.

  • Forming and structuring an anti-corruption function – an autonomous department with lines of reporting directly to the board.

  • The substance of the anti-corruption policy should cover rules on lobbying, donations, procedures for awards of large contracts, effective roles for internal auditors and more.

  • Regular risk assessments to assess how risks are shifting in a dynamic environment and reviewing live contracts for risks.

  • The role of whistle-blowers – a clear process for handling whistle-blowers, including protection.

  • The role of reparations – having an approach to determining reparations when something does go wrong.

  • Guidelines for ethical lobbying – any political activities by companies must have a clear board-approved policy.

Government fixing

Business leaders in South Africa are not only looking internally, with hundreds of CEOs of the country’s biggest companies signing a pledge to help the government in three key issues – energy, transport and logistics and crime and corruption.

Research from PWC and Sanlam showed that tackling these issues could grow South Africa’s economy by around 3%, which is crucial to creating jobs in the country.

“This collaboration is built on the recognition that we need to take bold and urgent action to confront these challenges and place South Africa on a trajectory of growth and job creation,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

“We welcome the emphasis on strategic partnerships and focused interventions, which has enabled us to make significant progress in a short space of time.”

The recommendations of the GIBS report can be found below:

Read: Ramaphosa says South Africa didn’t give any weapons to Russia

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter