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Discussion on The Criminal Justice System: professional, resourced and skilled, serving communities, safeguarding lives, actinf against crime and respecting people is rights to equality and justice by Hon. J.J Maake

24 October 2017, National Assembly

Corruption threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; it destabilises our society and endangers the rule of law. It undermines the institutions and values of our democracy. However, because public policies and public resources are largely beneficial to poor people, they suffer the harmful effects of corruption most grievously. To be dependent on the government for housing, healthcare, education, security and welfare, makes the poor most vulnerable to corruption since it stalls service delivery. Delays in infrastructure development, poor building quality and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption. Many acts of corruption deprive our citizens of their constitutional and their human rights.

Perceived corruption has begun not only to undermine governance, government institutions, and the rule of law, but also the authority and credibility of government institutions. Furthermore, the illicit mining of our precious metals continue to undermine our economic development efforts. More than R80 billion is estimated to be leaving South African borders to foreign jurisdictions in illicit financial flows at an annual basis, Our economy has for a long time suffered decades of transfer pricing and other forms of illegal capital flight by multinational companies Corruption affects us all.

Fundamental to the fight against corruption was the involvement of all stakeholders. A National Anti-corruption Summit was convened in April 1999, involving government leaders, organised Business, organised religious bodies, the NGO sector, donor countries, the media, organised labour unions, academic and professional bodies and the public sector. The National Anti-corruption Summit created a powerful platform for the National Campaign against Corruption in that it recognised the societal nature of corruption, and that the fight against corruption requires a national consensus and co-ordination of activities.

National Government has introduced and promoted various pieces of key legislation such as the Protected Disclosures Act, Promotion of Access to Information Act, Financial Intelligence Centre Act, Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act. Establishment of strong institutional capacity at national level to complement the basic police work, with such institutions such as the Public Protector, the National Prosecuting Authority, The Special Investigating Unit, the Public Service Commission, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Auditor-General. These institutions, individually and collectively, are reaching levels of maturity and efficiency that have provided the country with strong anti-corruption capacity. The money laundering work of the Financial Intelligence Centre is compliant with the highest international standard for combating money laundering, namely the Forty Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.

The establishment of an Asset Register for Accounting Officers and mandatory financial disclosure of assets and interests for all Senior Managers. Various other improvements in public administration in the Public Service, including defining Honesty and Integrity as a key set of 11 competencies required of senior managers the enactment of the Public Finance Management Act, including the requirement for departments to do risk assessments and develop fraud prevention plans.

These courts have gained strong business support and international acclaim as a best practice model. These courts deal with a variety of commercial crimes and corruption and statistics show that these courts finalise a greater number of cases and achieve higher conviction rates (above 94%) than normal regional courts. A national public service anti-corruption hotline system was established in 2004 (toll-free number is 0800 701 701).

Regarding State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), Cabinet approved the protocol on Corporate Governance in September 2002. Amongst various good governance arrangements, the Protocol obliges SOEs to combat corruption through such mechanisms as risk management and fraud prevention plans (the PFMA applies to SOEs), to do full disclosures of losses as a result of fraud and theft and to implement codes of ethics for board members and staff. Regarding restructuring processes, a restructuring oversight mechanism has been established as well as a Governance in Restructuring Processes Policy, which sets out minimum requirements including conflict of interest declarations, confidentiality requirements as well as monitoring of transactions by an independent auditor. As part of its ongoing reform programme for public entities, Government has commissioned a study into the structure and governance arrangements of these entities and is currently considering proposals to improve the governance arrangements for these entities.

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