UNODC Southern Africa Commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day
Pretoria - Together with the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Africa and the University of South Africa (UNISA), UNODC Southern Africa hosted a high-level panel discussion on effective means to combat corruption in commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day 2012.
Over 120 invited guests from public sector, private sector, civil society, law-enforcement, diplomatic corps and media attended the event held at UNISA in Pretoria on 10 December.
The event was opened by UNISA Council Chair Dr NM Phosa, who emphasised the University's stance against corruption and strife for an ethical University.
Mandiaye Niang, UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa delivered the official message by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day. Mr Niang also emphasised that:
"…corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it leads to weak governance, which in turn can fuel organized criminal networks and promote crimes such as human trafficking, arms and migrant smuggling, counterfeiting and the trade in endangered species. With Corruption - Everybody Pays! And this means that we all have a stake in fighting corruption".
He commended the South African government and the Public Service Commission in particular on their efforts to combat corruption and ensured them on the readily available assistance of UNODC Southern Africa.
Guests at the International Anti-Corruption Commemoration - UNISA Pretoria (Picture: UNODC, 2012)
Also officially introduced to the guests was the newly inaugurated Chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) of South Africa, Mr Zwelinzima Vavi, who is also the General Secretary of the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU). Mr Vavi, an outspoken anti-corruption activist, recounted several incidents of improper and corrupt business relationships between public and private sector, leading to a waste of public funds and poor service delivery. He demanded that all public servants should be banned from doing business with government institutions. He said: " They must choose either to serve the public or to go into private business but never the two at the same time". He also warned of the potential negative effects on the credibility of leadership if promises are not followed by actions and officials are not held accountable.
Panel discusses effectiveness of measures and need for strategic leadership
After the first part of the event with further messages of support by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UNISA, Prof Makhanya, the Chairperson of the Public Service Commission and the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, the speakers where joined by 3 additional panellists: Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Dr Ramaite, the Executive Director of Corruption Watch, Mr David Lewis, and the head of Forensic Investigations and Fraud Risk Consulting at Price Waterhouse Coopers Gauteng, Mr Peter Goss.
The panellists interacted in a lively question and answer session and discussions with the audience and among themselves. Questions revolved around the accountability and responsibility of heads of departments to report corruption and wrong-doing in their departments, the protection and encouragement of whistleblowers, and how to ensure words are followed by actions and crimes are followed by convictions.
I n her closing words, the Programme Director and Facilitator, UNISA Vice-Principal Prof Singh, reminded all guests that it is not only the overall strategy against corruption which is important, but also the individual and daily acts against corruption. For this purpose UNODC, the PSC and UNISA handed a scroll to each guest giving examples of how to act against corruption (see picture to the left).
Raising Awareness of the International Day
Prior to the International Day, UNODC's partners, including the PSC, but also other government departments and organisations in South Africa carried the ACT-logo on their websites and internal communication and the PSC sponsored joint adds in several newspapers and radio to raise awareness of the International Campaign.
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