South Africa not ‘angry’ enough about corruption

Vusi Pikoli SPW.jpgSouth Africa is not doing enough to combat fraud and corruption in its business sectors, said Vusi Pikoli, Gobodo Incorporated Forensic Investigations Head, at SmartProcurement World 2010.

“We need to come up with practical ways to address [corruption],” said Pikoli.

The former National Prosecuting Authority Director said South Africa is not angry enough about the effects of crime and corruption. “We must not just talk about [addressing corruption], we must do it. What is critical is a political will to fight corruption.”

He said that human nature makes the need to fight corruption all the more urgent.

“10% of people are absolutely honest, 80% may be corrupted depending on the circumstances and the remaining 10% are scoundrels of the worst kind who will not hesitate to commit any crime. Our efforts, therefore, should be on the 80% who are considered to be the ‘swing group’,” Pikoli told SmartProcurement prior to the conference.

“We need to embark on a programme that educates our people. South Africa’s laws are adequate to deter or defeat acts of corruption. However, we always fall short in implementing our good intentions.”

Focus must be placed on personal integrity, complying with policy, proper supervision, the right skills, managing conflicts of interest, exercising discretion, and preventing political influence and interference, he said.

The integrity of the processes and that of the people involved in negotiations, bid evaluation, bid adjudication as well as contract management is absolutely critical.

Pikoli stressed that the South African Constitution is the vehicle to fight fraud and corruption as it calls for fair, equitable, transparent, cost-effective and competent procurement methods.

He cited some police officials, prosecutors and lawyers as part of the problem and outlined that the solution lies in the enforcement of the rule of law.

“Anything that gives the wrong impression is fraught with fraud and corruption, such as noncompliance with the law and procedures. Most of the time, this is done with impunity, which is not correct.”

About 5% of global gross domestic product is lost to corruption. South Africa is investigating R25-billion worth of fraud and corruption.

The SmartProcurement World 2011 Conference will be held on October 11-13, 2011.

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