Ramaphosa talks up progress on corruption reforms in South Africa

 ·19 May 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the recent work of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council to inquire further into allegations of state capture, fraud and corruption in organs of state.

As recommended by the Constitutional Court and the Zondo Commission, the country is developing anti-corruption institutional architectures, said Ramaphosa.

He said the council has been creating out to academia, civil society groups and anti-corruption institutions outside of South Africa as part of its plan to make a conducive environment for whistleblowers, safeguard public procurement and identify legislative gaps that enable bad faith actors.

“The Council is due to propose legislative reforms spanning the current Public Procurement Bill, the Protected Disclosures Act and the Political Party Funding Act, to enrich the country’s prevention of corruption and action against crimes involving corruption,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said that fight against corruption remains a critical task in South Africa.

The president said that the fight against corruption is not simply about preventing and prosecuting criminal acts but fixing institutional culture and processes that enable unethical behaviour.

He added that the Council has also begun to coalesce around the insight that the building of a corruption-free society demands a shift from the current focus on individual acts of criminality to one on combating systemic corruption.

Recent data from the civil society group Corruption Watch (CW) has revealed that South Africa remains a highly corrupt country despite efforts by both government and the private sector.

In this latest annual report for 2022, the group found that South Africa has a Corruption Perceptions Index of 43/100. The index rands 180 countries across the globe, with 100 being corruption free and zero being highly corrupt.

According to CW, the main reports of corruption relate to the following:

  • Maladministration (25%)
  • Fraud (17%)
  • Nepotism and favouritism (13%)
  • Bribery and extortion (11%)
  • Dereliction of duty (9%)
  • Procurement irregularities (9%)

Special Investigating Unit 

On the same day that Ramaphosa welcomed upcoming reforms cracking down on corruption, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) provided an update on the Infrastructure Built Anti-Corruption Forum (IBACF).

The group said that the IBACF is continuing its role in the fight against fraud, corruption and maladministration, specifically in the construction sector.

South Africa’s construction sector has been hamstrung by widespread corruption, specifically in procurement processes.

The head of the SIU, Andy Mothibi, said that approved government Infrastructure Investment Plans are being protected by the forum.

Mothibi added that the IBACF is aiming to further develop initiatives to stop corruption, including the use of data analytics – mining through data to highlight corruption risk exposures in the sector and identify key strategic interventions.

Through the IBACF, the SIU has identified the following factors as the root causes of weak infrastructure delivery and service delivery in general:

  • Lack of effective project planning and adequate coordination
  • Shortage of project management skills and capacity at the departmental level
  • Action plans on non-performance not enforced and consequences not applied.
  • Inadequate coordination and collaboration and deliverables not synchronised.
  • Inspection and maintenance not done and insufficient budget

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