The National Development Plan envisions zero tolerance for corruption in South Africa by the year 2030. With just over a decade to go, can a country that has a history of several high profile corruption cases break the cycle.
While there have been numerous public enterprises and municipalities declaring a clampdown on corruption in the past year, Transparency International’s recently released African edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) points to a despondent nation with four out of five South Africans believing that corruption is in fact on the rise. At 61st place on the latest index and with a score of 44, South Africa is ranked among those countries perceived to have a serious corruption problem.
South Africa has a well-developed legal framework for fighting corruption as well as efforts from several state divisions showing commitment toward eradicating corruption. However, there is a lack of enforcement and the perception among ordinary South Africans that the politically well-connected or economically powerful will always escape anticorruption efforts.
Corporate South Africa has a role to play. Many investors, executives, directors and employees are aware of laws and procedures, restrictions and limitations, mandatory actions and the risk of severe penalties relating to running a business. Unfortunately they are not always familiar with the details of the related legislation and how to practically implement and monitor compliance.
The following are tips for the private sector to prevent internal corruption and fraud:
· Establish and communicate a fraud policy.
· Use Anti-Fraud resources to train and educate employees.
· Proactively invest in systems that protect you against fraud.
· Verify that suppliers, customers and employees are genuine, for example by using automated solutions for conducting due diligence and vetting of vendors and employees.
· Protect whistleblowers against recrimination or defamation.
· Be aware not only of the mandatory actions and penalties for non-compliance, but also be familiar with the details of the related legislation and how to practically implement and monitor compliance.
Taking these measures will protect the integrity of your business, reducing the risk of it being yet another statistic in a climate of corruption, unemployment, failure of critical infrastructure, political and social instability.
Contributed by: Rudi Kruger, GM: Governance, Risk & Compliance at LexisNexis South Africa