MANDY WIENER: Government should not take a knife to the corruption gunfight

MANDY WIENER: The government shouldn’t intervene in the fight against corruption.

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” This is not a country of the government.” At the SAICA Anti-Corruption conference held last week at # Leaderex, a raging BLSA CEO named Busisiwe Mavuso remarked to thunderous applause,” It is South Africa’s country.”

I had questioned her about the funding of Andre de Ruyter’s private investigation into widespread corruption at the power utility by Business Leadership South Africa. The SIU criticized BLSA’s choice to fund the investigation in front of parliament.

Mavuso was adamant that the private sector would comply if asked to do so once more.

The private sector won’t be able to use it when it suits them, according to the government. As the private sector, we will step in when we feel the need to. They don’t have to give us permission. This is not a country of the government. It belongs to South Africa. We will all lose if this thing fails, she added.

Giving money to the government is something that the private sector in this nation will never do because it immediately sinks into a deep, dark hole. Give the government the tools they need to carry out their duties if we want to assist them. Give them engineers to fix Eskom and municipalities to be fixed by accountants. Give them the abilities they need to complete their tasks.

Evidently, many people in the private sector agreed with Mavuso.

In the recent weeks, BLSA has published an anti-corruption working guide for the private sector, which represents additional real-world advancements. In essence, it serves as a strategy for corporate South Africa to combat corruption. The guide that examines the Zondo Commission’s findings and recommendations was created with funding from BLSA and provided by the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

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In order to combat complex corruption like that which gripped Steinhoff, Tongaat Hulett, and EOH, this will ideally energise the private sector.

Importantly, the business community is working to improve the NPA’s ability to handle complex cases of malfeasance through a deal with the National Prosecuting Authority, as well as through the Joint Initiative to Fight Crime and Corruption ( JICC ). Private law firms and consultancies have previously helped us with particular cases.

Zondo’s recommendations were made two years ago, and the NPA is still under a lot of pressure. Since the time of state capture, the organization has made significant strides toward self-recuperation, but expectations remain high because convictions still elude it.

Disappointingly, the NPA revealed earlier this month that government budget restrictions had forced it to halt the Aspirant Prosecutor Programme’s 2024 intake.

The program includes in-service training that helps law graduates gain real-world prosecutorial experience. Competent candidates are then appointed to entry-level prosecutorial positions within the NPA after the program has been in operation for a full year.

The NPA appointed 298 aspirant prosecutors on a permanent basis at the end of last year, while 250 were appointed at its training centers in January 2022, according to its annual report. The following intake was expected to include 344 recruits.

It is crucial that prosecutors are persuaded to return to the public sector, especially given that the NPA was a significant site of state capture and was destroyed during the Zuma era.

The NPA sought to reassure the public in a statement from June of this year that it had improved its ability and expertise to bring cases involving state capture and extremely complex corruption cases. By consulting some of the nation’s top Senior Counsel, it has accomplished this.

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The expanded strategy of the NPA is based on prior knowledge and experience. In order to assist prosecutors and ID investigators in their work, it begins with strategic case coordination and prioritization of important cases. It then extends to enlisting the assistance of the nation’s top Senior Counsel and other local and international experts. The NPA will be able to handle all facets of these complex cases, in a sustainable and coordinated manner, with the best available resources, thanks to the expanded use of seasoned advocates and other experts to support our specialist staff, which we have now applied in some key cases already enrolled.

Martin Kingston, the chairperson of the B4SA steering committee, stated that in order to prevent any perception of bias, private sector support for the NPA, ID, and Hawks must be transparent. That’s important.

It is also obvious that we cannot participate in the corruption gunfight with a knife.

Government, like business, must understand that in order to achieve the outcomes it anticipates for these institutions, it must also prioritize funding and support for them. As a result, it is important to maintain the Aspirant Prosecutor Program’s funding. It aims to alter South African culture, persuade young, eager attorneys to pursue careers as prosecutors, and to develop and nurture their skills.

This article first appeared on 702 : MANDY WIENER: The government shouldn’t intervene in the fight against corruption.

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