Sep 04, 2012
‘Dramatic’ increase in white-collar crime in SABack
Africa|Environment|Nortons Inc|Africa|South Africa|Law|David Lewis|John Oxenham|Willie Hofmeyr
© Reuse this
Speaking at the White Collar Crime and Corruption seminar, which Nortons and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted, he said fraud and corruption in the public and private sectors were widely regarded as two of the biggest threats to the South African economy, its ability to attract foreign investment and achieve economic growth.
South Africa is now ranked 64th out of 182 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index. “We have been sliding for a number of years owing to the rampant corruption involving business and government,” Oxenham said.
He pointed out that many companies did not have proper internal controls, which would bring to a halt corrupt activities. “Unfortunately in today’s economic environment, the first element to be cut for cost saving is internal control, which is often problematic. In international legislation, having adequate internal control is actually a significant mitigating factor against the imposition of sanctions itself,” he said.
Oxenham added that whistleblowers also had to be properly incentivised and protected.
Corruption Watch director David Lewis agreed, stating that public participation was key to combatting corruption and anticompetitive collusion.
“We need to encourage the public to resist corruption and we need to create an environment that is less conducive to such activities, by advocating for policies and legislation that facilitate whistleblowing, effective policing and consequences for those who are found to be guilty of such crimes,” he noted.
Lewis, who is the former chairperson of the Competition Tribunal, pointed out that corruption bred deep mistrust on the part of the public regarding both the business and governmental sectors. “Corruption slows economic growth and job creation, and disproportionately affected the poor.”
Meanwhile, he said that it was relatively easy to understand that handing over a proverbial brown envelope in exchange for example, a government contract was corrupt. But Lewis said that grey areas, such as conflict of interest; and the nature, purpose and outcome of nepotism in appointments were harder to grasp.
Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority head Willie Hofmeyr said that the work done by government's anti-corruption task team (ACTT) was encouraging. He explained that the ACTT was an inter-agency task team that focused on the so-called “big fish” with income from corrupt activities in excess of R5-million.
The ACTT had already frozen assets to the tune of R550-million and had charged and convicted 16 criminals in the past two years.
Lewis added that Corruption Watch has, in the past six months, received over 2 200 reports of alleged corruption, many of which are currently being investigated.
The consensus of the seminar was that the tone for proper conduct had to be set by leadership in business, government and labour in order to fight corruption, otherwise the existing legislation aimed at fighting corruption would prove largely ineffectual.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Economy News
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.