Business, government wage war on corruption

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Fighting corruption is not a battle to be won by government but by every South African citizen, the board of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) said on Tuesday.

Members of the BUSA board all pledged to contribute meaningfully towards government's mission to clampdown on corruption.

Reading the pledge, each of the non-executive directors vowed to be responsible and honest citizens and neither pay nor take bribes.

They promised to obey the law and encourage others around them to do the same.

Reading further, they pledged “to treat public resources respectfully, never abuse any money entrusted to my care or position”.

They would also “act with integrity in all my dealings, in thought and action, and always act in the best interests of our country”.

Tuesday’s event marked the beginning of a partnership between the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) and BUSA. GCIS has made the fight against corruption one of its priorities.

Speaking to SAnews, BUSA chief executive Tanya Cohen said the organisation had taken part in the initiative after conceding that the private sector’s role in corruption and State capture.

“We have acknowledged that while a lot of this has happened in government and State-owned enterprises, there has been private sector involvement,” she said, adding that the business sector needed to take accountability for its actions.

“We have to put a spotlight on ourselves and interrogate our own views around the impact of corruption. We think it is exceptionally detrimental to the economy and on society as it leaks very valuable resources from what should be going into society and developing a more inclusive economy. It is for this reason we have put work behind this anti-corruption initiative.”

One area BUSA had paid much needed attention to was the audit profession, which was battered by scandals recently.

“It had become evident in terms of whether or not financial statements can give the necessary assurance to both the public and private sector on the financial affairs of a company.

“We believe that that’s an important focal area because it goes fundamentally to the credibility and investment environment of the country.”

BUSA, Cohen said, was engaging with the Auditor-General as well as auditing firms on how  to restore the good reputation of the profession and how to bring back the ethics and accountability into the profession, as well as how financial statements are developed at company level.

“We engage with a number of departments at a multiple level,” she said.

Cohen said Nedlac and BUSA were spending a lot of time on anti-corruption measures.

“We are working with our social partners, which include government, [to] collectively fight corruption. The other area we have been engaged in is the sovereign downgrade task team in Nedlac, where we have... jointly developed a declaration. We are hoping to all commit to certain principles that will stand for ethical and accountable leadership and against corrupt activities,” she said. -