Minister of justice calls for a pragmatic approach to fighting corruption.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says everyone has a role to play in the fight against corruption. Image: EFE-EPA
Speaking at the Pavocat-Stellenbosch Academy Counter-Corruption Summit on Wednesday former public protector Thuli Madonsela said to fight the scourge of corruption in South Africa there needs to be a move away from the emerging gangster culture that is anchored in protecting certain perpetrators of corruption at all costs.
Madonsela added that although various arms of state have a role to play in the fight against corruption, this duty must be taken on by all members of society if success is to be achieved.
“That’s one thing I came across as a public protector … that there’s a gangster mentality globally and I can see that mentality primarily in America and South Africa.
“If we are going to fight corruption, there should be no holy cows,” said Madonsela.
Madonsela made no particular mention of which “holy cows” should be next in line on the corruption chopping block, nor did she address the back-and-forth involved in striving to hold them to account.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, who also made an appearance at the summit, assured the country that his department is indeed doing its work and that it is holding perpetrators of corruption accountable.
Lamola said 589 individuals have thus far been convicted for corruption – 380 of whom are government officials, with 209 from the private sector.
“Most of these cases focus on corruption in government departments, critical state-owned enterprises,” he said. “Former CEOs, board chairs, heads of department, as well high-flying businesspeople have been charged.”
According to the minister, the conviction rate of corrupt government officials has increased by 38.4% year-on-year.
The National Prosecuting Authority has improved its private sector prosecution rate by 39.5%, he added.
The ANC’s policy conference is set to take place on Thursday next week, and Lamola said assessing the progress made in the ruling party’s fight against corruption will be one of the key agenda items.
“We should also note that of equal importance is the internal consequence management mechanisms that [the] party will review and assess. The recent debates around the step-aside provision are most likely to generate robust discussions – [and] rightly so. Society demands that we enhance and strengthen the step-aside resolution as it is an integral part of the ANC restoring its trust with the people.”
In addition, Lamola implored ‘combatters of corruption’ to be practical and realistic in their approach, saying this better places them to yield results.