Business Unity South Africa (Busa) president Futhi Mtoba has called on the South African government to integrate integrity pacts into its transaction model, particularly for large procurement items, so as to improve transparency, accountability and help it in combatting corruption.
Speaking at a National Business Initiative (NBI) function held in Johannesburg in a bid to urge South African corporates to sign up to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), which has anticorruption as one of its ten core principles, Mtoba indicated that business had already lobbied the National Treasury on the matter.
Earlier this year, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan indicated that his department was reviewing procurement rules in an effort to improve spending efficiency and reduce corruption. Public-sector financial management failures would receive attention and there might also be changes to regulations to ensure greater transparency and public disclosure and more rigorous tender procedures.
The NBI, Busa and the South Africa arm of the UNGC had, through its anticorruption projects, already introduced an integrity pact model, which had been developed by Transparency International in the 1990s.
Mtoba, who is also UNGC South Africa chairperson, said the model demanded that participants in large procurement programmes agree to a set of procedures, as well as an independent monitor, designed to ensure that transactions were well governed and corruption free.
The South African government had already acknowledged that public spending was prone to wastage and corruption and that there was a need to ensure that the R850-billion public infrastructure programme did not fall prey to that tendency.
Mtoba said she was excited that President Jacob Zuma used his State of the Nation address to support the notion of integrity pacts, and that the idea had received further momentum when Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel indicated that government was keen of concluding an integrity accord with business.
Also speaking at the event, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba encouraged South African companies to embrace the UNGC principles, noting that all eight of the State-owned companies falling under his department were now signatories.
He said government would continue to pursue other social-compact economic policy interventions, as had already been the case with the local procurement, green economy and skills accords.