Report: Proposed National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council (Part 1)

Report into the Feasibility, Structure, and Functioning of the Proposed National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council: Striving for a Corruption-Free South Africa




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Views expressed in this report do not necessarily represent the views of the

Inclusive Society Institute or those of their respective Board or Council members, the Stellenbosch University, or the Stellenbosch University School of Public Leadership.


JULY 2022




Contents


  • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

  • LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

  • ABSTRACT ABOUT THE INCLUSIVE SOCIETY INSTITUTE (ISI)

  • ABOUT THE STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY AND THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC LEADERSHIP (SPL)

  • STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY (SU)

  • SCHOOL OF PUBLIC LEADERSHIP (SPL)

  • THEME 1: PRELIMINARY LITERATURE REVIEW AND INSIGHTS

  • INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXTUAL OVERVIEW: SETTING THE SCENE

  • CONCEPTUALISING CORRUPTION IN CONTEXT: TYPOLOGIES, FORMS, AND ACTS OF CORRUPTION

  • AFRICAN ANTI-CORRUPTION ADVISORY BODIES: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE

  • RWANDA

  • SEYCHELLES

  • BOTSWANA

  • CONCLUSION

  • THEME 2: RESEARCH METHOD, FINDINGS, AND ANALYSES

  • BRIEF OVERVIEW OF METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH, STRATEGY, AND SAMPLING

  • SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS AND ANALYSES

  • CONCLUSION

  • THEME 3: NACAC IN PRACTICE

  • NACAC COMPOSITION AND STAFF SELECTION CRITERIA

  • NACAC’S AUTHORITY, MANDATE, AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • DESIGN AND FUNCTION OF A COORDINATING BODY

  • RESOURCES AND CAPACITY NEEDS

  • CONCLUSION

  • EXPERTS’ RESPONSES ANALYSIS

  • CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

  • CONCLUSION

  • REFERENCE LIST


List of Abbreviations

  • ACCERUS - Anti-corruption Centre for Education and Research of Stellenbosch University

  • ACCS - Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles

  • ACTT - Anti-Corruption Task Team

  • APRM - African Peer Review Mechanism

  • CECA - Corruption and Economic Crime Act 29, 2018

  • CPI - Corruption Perceptions Index

  • DCEC - Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime

  • GSCID - Governance, State Capacity and Institutional Development Cluster

  • IACAB - International Anti-Corruption Advisory Board

  • ICC - Inter-Agency Coordinating Council

  • ISI - Inclusive Society Institute

  • ICTS - International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster

  • JCPS - Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster

  • MFMA - Municipal Finance Management Act 56 of 2003

  • NACF - National Anti-Corruption Forum

  • NACS - National Anti-Corruption Strategy

  • NDPP - National Director of Public Prosecutions

  • NEDLAC - National Economic Development and Labour Council

  • NPA - National Prosecuting Authority

  • NRF - National Research Foundation

  • PDE - Procuring and Disposing Entities

  • PFMA - Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999

  • PPE - Personal Protective Equipment

  • SADC - Southern African Development Community

  • SARS - South African Revenue Service

  • SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals

  • SONA - State of the Nation Address

  • SPL - School of Public Leadership

  • SIU - Special Investigating Unit

  • SU - Stellenbosch University

  • UN - United Nations

  • UNCAC - United Nations Convention against Corruption

  • UNDP - United Nations Development Programme


List of Contributors


The Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) in partnership with the Stellenbosch University School of Public Leadership (SPL) hosted a High-Level Dialogue on the Establishment of a National Anti-Corruption Agency for South Africa, on 19 October 2021. This dialogue aimed to give direction to the research to be undertaken by the ISI and the Stellenbosch University School of Public Leadership.


The following experts contributed to the main aim of the dialogue and, in a larger sense, the direction of the feasibility research report:





​Mr Daryl Swanepoel

Inclusive Society Institute (ISI)

​Prof Zwelinzima Ndevu

Stellenbosch University

School of Public Leadership (SPL)

​Prof Evangelos Mantzaris

Stellenbosch University

School of Public Leadership (SPL)




​Prof Geo Quinot

Stellenbosch University

African Procurement Law Unit

​Prof Hanns Bossert

Academica University of Applied Sciences – Netherlands

​Mr Johnny Douglas

Stellenbosch University

School of Public Leadership (SPL)


KEY WORDS:

  • Corruption

  • South Africa

  • National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council for South Africa; South African Anti-Corruption Strategy 2020-2030


Abstract


In his State of the Nation Address on 11 February 2021, the President of the Republic of South Africa announced the establishment of a National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council (NACAC) for South Africa. The establishment of NACAC confirms South Africa’s commitment to the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 16, which aims for peace, justice and strong institutions.


This report attempts to investigate the feasibility and possible structures of the proposed National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council for South Africa. The first section of the report compares and draws lessons from three African countries internationally recognised to be amongst the least corrupt in the world. It considers the structure and operation of their anti-corruption institutions and includes an assessment of their effectiveness in combating corruption.


In the second section, the findings of the qualitative research conducted, which considered South Africa’s unique socio-political context, are presented. Eight expert leaders based in the public sector, business community, and civil society were purposely sampled to participate in open-ended interviews based on key issues related to the structures, processes, realities, and expectations of the proposed new body.


Finally, section three presents an informed attempt to chart what NACAC could look like after considering the research findings and best practices from the case studies found on the African continent. It unpacks the practical steps that need to be taken to implement a fully functioning and successful anti-corruption institution that is fit-for-purpose for the South African context.


About the Inclusive Society Institute (ISI)


The Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) is an autonomous and self-standing institution that functions independently from any other entity. It was founded for the purpose of supporting and further deepening multi-party democracy.


The ISI’s work is motivated by its desire to achieve non-racialism, non-sexism, social justice and cohesion, economic development and equality in South Africa, through a value system that embodies the social and national democratic principles associated with a developmental state. It recognises that a well-functioning democracy requires well-functioning political formations that are suitably equipped and capacitated. It further acknowledges that South Africa is inextricably linked to the ever-transforming and interdependent global world, which necessitates international and multilateral cooperation. As such, the ISI also seeks to achieve its ideals at a global level through cooperation with like-minded parties and organs of civil society who share its basic values.


About the Stellenbosch University and the School of Public Leadership (SPL)


Stellenbosch University (SU)


Stellenbosch University (SU) is home to an academic community of 29 000 students (including 4 000 foreign students from 100 countries) as well as 3 000 permanent staff members (including 1 000 academics) on five campuses. The historical oak-lined university town, which lies amongst the Boland Mountains in the Winelands of the Western Cape, creates a unique campus atmosphere, attracting local and foreign students alike. On the main campus, paved walkways wind between campus buildings – some dating from previous centuries; others just a few years old. Architecture from various eras attests to the sound academic foundation and establishment of an institution of excellence. This, together with the scenic beauty of the area and state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facilities and technology, as well as visionary thinking about the creation of a sustainable 21st-century institution, makes for the unique character of Stellenbosch University.


School of Public Leadership (SPL)


The Stellenbosch University, through the School of Public Leadership (SPL), is a leader in learning for sustainable African and global futures. The SPL is unique in the South African context with its combination of Public Governance, Environment and Sustainability as strategic focal points. These three foci also provide the rationale for the three postgraduate programmes in Public Policy and Management, Environmental Management, and Sustainable Development. SPL’s business vision and mission, with “Learning for sustainable African futures” as its slogan, can best be understood and summarised as serving public value in an African context.


THEME 1: Preliminary literature review and insights


Introduction and Contextual Overview: Setting the Scene


In his delivery of the 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa identified the government’s focus as concentrating on four pillars decisively dealing with Covid-19, job creation and inclusive financial growth, acceleration of the country’s economic recovery, and the fight against corruption. It became evident in the speech that the fight against corruption is instrumental in achieving the success of the other fundamentals and its realisation at all levels is the key to government’s efforts to revive hope to the people for a better future.


His brave acceptance of the fact that the government’s reputation has been dented for years because of widespread corruption at all government and societal levels, led to the announcement of what has been described as a new feasible step forward in the fight against extensive corruption within the public sector ranks.


As the Honourable President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa stated: “We will shortly be appointing the members of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, which is a multi-sectoral body that will oversee the initial implementation of the strategy and the establishment of an independent statutory anti-corruption body that reports to Parliament.”


The indication and belief that such a fight against corruption could only be successful when the whole of society becomes an integral, collective part of the effort leading to a strengthened rule of law, was at the heart of the President’s speech. It was stated that the processes of increasing accountability amongst senior government leaders would be rubber-stamped immediately through the signing of a performance agreement with all ministers before the end of February, a measure that would reach the country’s public.


In the announcement of the new National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, it was characterised as a multi-sectoral body that will oversee the initial implementation of the strategy and establishment of an independent statutory anti-corruption body that reports to Parliament. This was followed by the promise that well planned and decisive investigative action would be undertaken against corruption in the procurement processes and outcomes of Covid-19-based goods and services. The beginning of such an anti-corruption journey was initiated by the authorisation of the SIU (Special Investigating Unit) to commence with and complete the investigations of all allegations and evidence of unlawful conduct that took place at all levels of Covid-19 supply chain and procurement structures and processes – by all government spheres and state bodies – during the national state of disaster. It was officially stated at the time, during SONA, that the SIU had finalised investigations into 164 contracts with a total value of R3.5-billion (Ramaphosa, 2021).


These initiatives were supported by the creation of a fusion centre, where representatives of all key law enforcement agencies gather, debate, and share information and resources. It was shown that the establishment has been successful in the fight against corruption, as it has delivered a large number of court cases and achieved the preservation and recovery of millions of Rands in public funds.


Beyond this, South Africa as a signatory to intercontinental treaties and conventions on societal aspirations – such as Goal #16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN), and continental conventions such as the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration – is bound to continually improve its anti-corruption efforts to achieve the planning, designing, and implementation of an honest, transparent, and good governance ethos in running its state affairs.


Conceptualising Corruption in Context: Typologies, Forms, and Acts of Corruption


Though the phenomenon of corruption is as old as human history, it only received attention after a few years into the democratic dispensation – understandably so, as South Africa was managing the bigger political project of democratic transition and the change of power. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA, 2002) was the first government department to initiate an anti-corruption strategy. Within it, a number of corrupt acts were identified as types and manifestations of illegal actions (abuse of power and privileged information/insider trading; bribery, conflict of interest; embezzlement; extortion; favouritism; fraud and nepotism). Since then, numerous efforts have been coordinated to rid the country of corruption. Amongst others, a series of reports from the empirical research conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC, 2008; 2011a) entitled The Most Common Manifestations of Corruption were published.


The findings included:


  • Abuse of government resources

  • Appointment irregularities

  • Criminal conduct

  • Fraud and bribery

  • Identity document fraud

  • Mismanagement of government funds

  • Procurement irregularities

  • Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing irregularities

  • Gross negligence

  • Misappropriation, theft, and financial mismanagement; and

  • Social grant fraud.


The foregoing list is a stark reminder that corruption is multifaceted in nature. It therefore needs to be dissected if it is to be understood to its core. In the process of continuous empirical research on the subject matter for over a decade, the Anti-Corruption Centre for Education and Research at Stellenbosch University (ACCERUS) has developed a wide range of both specific and ‘general/collective’ types of ‘common’ and ‘sophisticated’ corrupt acts as listed below:


  • Asset misappropriation is associated with theft that comprises a variety of actions such as extraction from cash deposits; asset purchases; theft of tangible assets; cash on hand, from cash deposits received; transactions in foreign currencies; unrecorded cash transactions; inventory and other assets (e.g., stocks); use of organisation’s equipment (or staff); asset transfers; inventory schemes and movement of assets for private purposes.

  • Bribery is one of the world’s most common and serious forms of corruption and is pervasive – in both big and small acts – in the public sector. While it is probably most prevalent in the supply chain and procurement process transactions, it is in fact also found in many other areas of corruption in the public sector (MBPC, 2016). It entails an act or attempt, by way of a gift of money or other inducements, to dishonestly persuade someone (or a group of persons) to act in one’s favour.

  • Bureaucratic corruption is an act associated with public servants who operate at various organisational and professional levels and abuse their positions for their own personal benefit (Gans-Morse et al., 2018:173-174), or that of their associates, without overt gifting.

  • Computer/IT fraud/corruption (cyber-crime) is a generic concept used to describe criminal activities carried out by means of computers or the Internet.

  • Creditors’ corruption is consisted of, amongst others, double billing; fraudulent disbursements/payments; overpayments; shell companies; fraudulent credit notes; mispricing; and false refunds (Leuthner, 2016).

  • Debtors’ corruption acts are related to discounts; false invoices; payment diversions; sales schemes; unrecorded or under-recorded sales; invoice kickbacks; refunds and credit notes; a variety of bribes and short deliveries (Gilander & Neselevska, 2017).

  • Economic and financial corruption cover a wide spectrum of offenses, inter alia, financial crimes committed by banks, insurance companies, tax evasion, illicit capital havens, money laundering, as well crimes committed by public officials (such as bribery, embezzlement, traffic of influences, etc.) either to benefit unduly personally, or benefit organisations.

  • Employee-related fraud/corruption is characterised by a wide variety of acts such as irregular loans; fake educational qualifications; payroll/remuneration schemes; irregular bonuses; falsified curriculum vitae; irregular promotions and bonuses; duplicated reimbursements; department credit cards for personal use; falsified wages; nepotism; fictitious expenses; patronage use; fraudulent travel and subsidy claims; backdating salary increases; a variety of misrepresentations of relevant personal information; illegal gratuities and expense reimbursement schemes (Woods & Mantzaris, 2012).

  • Grand corruption occurs at the highest levels of political and administrative leadership and management as well as groups who, in most, if not all cases, use the privileged information at their disposal to take advantage of the laws, rules, and regulations gaps and anti-corruption agencies’ lack of capacity, weaknesses, and structural and functional inadequacies (Bauhr & Charron, 2017:416-417).

  • Management fraud is perpetrated by a wide range of managers who become directly and indirectly involved with most, if not all, acts of corruption mentioned above purely by having both access to information and power to act and influence the course of events to their favour. Such fraud is also synonymous with “fraudulent financial statements” (Mbaku, 2007).

  • Petty corruption is generally associated with corrupt practices by lower- and middle-grade public servants who, in most instances, deal with the public on a daily basis (also described as ‘survival corruption’) (Stahl et al., 2017(a)).

  • Political corruption, inevitably the most debated corruption reality in South Africa, Africa and globally, is associated with politicians’ greed, avarice, irregular and illegal actions at various levels of position and authority, from the president to a municipal councillor.

  • Principal-agent-type corruption is the idea, planning and implementation of actions which provide an opportunity for ‘middlemen’/‘agents’ to facilitate deals/transactions in the public service terrain. The employed agent can either be an internal or external party to the entity but will naturally have the power to sway influence (GAB | the Global Anticorruption Blog, 2015).

  • Procurement fraud is related to a very wide range of manipulated, inter alia, “preferred and ghost service providers” to direct the procurement processes toward a pre-emptive conclusion; many forms of bribery through mediators; violation of “preferential procurement” and falsified “broad-based black economic empowerment” arrangements; fictitious quotes and invoices; ghost suppliers and purchasing schemes (Mantzaris, 2014(a); Mantzaris, 2014(b)).

  • “Quiet” service has been described as a low-level form of corruption under circumstances where public servants fail to deliver the service they are paid to deliver, such as medical doctors’ or nurses’ absenteeism or drugs embezzlement from public hospitals (U4, 2017).

  • Systemic corruption is rooted in inadequacies, weaknesses, and state institutions’ incapacity of organisational systems, structures, and processes. In most instances, it is encouraged by the lack of transparency, integrity, accountability, and acts of impunity as well as authoritarian and/or monopolistic power relations (Laver, 2014). It is synonymous with state capture.


African Anti-Corruption Advisory Bodies: Comparative Perspective


In an effort to learn from existing bodies of research and work done in the anti-corruption domain, three African countries that are internationally recognised to be amongst the least corrupt in the world and on the African continent, have been purposively selected as case studies from which to compare and draw lessons that could inform the proposed NACAC. These countries are Rwanda, Seychelles, and Botswana.


RWANDA


The Rwanda Anti-Corruption Advisory Council was established in 2014 and has played an important role in the fight against corruption in the country. The Council comprises the Chief Ombudsman (the Chairperson), Director General of National Intelligence and Security Service, Minister of Local Government and Justice, two Ombudsman Deputies, the Inspector General of Rwanda National Police, Vice President of the Supreme Court, Prosecutor General, State Finance Auditor General, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Public Procurement Authority, representatives of the Civil Society Platform, and the Chief Executive of the Private Sector Federation.


The Rwanda Anti-Corruption Advisory Council was initially based on a continuous initiative communication campaign led by senior ministers, the country’s ombudsman, and highly placed officials. The campaign covered the entire country and was reported daily on radio, television, and social media. Furthermore, all the Council members communicated daily with the media, private sector, and civil society, convincing them to become active against corruption and mobilise their communities and constituencies to grow to be an integral part of the effort. The Council operates at National level but is also decentralised at District, Sector, and Cell levels (Government of Rwanda, N.d.).


These significant initiatives took place in the country at a time when it was already considered amongst the least corrupt globally. In the 2014 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Rwanda was one of Africa’s five least corrupt nations. Consequently, 97.3 per cent of the population expressed confidence in the government’s efforts to fight corruption, according to the 2014 Rwanda Bribery Index, which was conducted by Transparency International Rwanda chapter (Transparency International Rwanda, 2014).


In the Transparency International CPI, Rwanda had a score of 54, ranking as the third-least corrupt country in Africa. The country’s prosecutor general at the time revealed that the prosecution office had filed 155 cases of corruption in courts, of the 225 cases reported in the fiscal year 2013-2014. The Transparency International 2020 results showed that the country’s score increased from 53 to 54 percent, which placed it at 49th on the global ranking (from 51st in 2019), retaining the lead in the East-African region as the least corrupt (Transparency International, 2020).


The country’s civil society leadership was encouraged to cooperate with the Council in an effort to sensitise the general public towards the consequences of corruption, and research and reports of corruption to the police, National Public Prosecution Authority, and the Office of the Ombudsman. The Council’s key responsibilities at the national level include: research and reports/opinions on strategies against corruption; thorough study and research of all reports that emanate from anti-corruption institutions and recommendations to advance the fight against corruption; maintain continuous channels of information exchange on corruption between institutions; research, assess, and evaluate all reports that emanate from organisations regarding corruption in Rwanda and recommendations that are based on their positions, planning, and implementation of all processes resulting in the approval and publication of an annual report of the achievements in the fight against corruption in Rwanda (Sebudubudu, Khatib & Bozzini, 2017).

Members of the National Advisory Council meet on a quarterly basis and report directly to the President of the Republic, and present copies of all meetings, discussions, and decisions to Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Cabinet. The Council’s Technical Committee comprises technicians from institutions led by members of the Advisory Council at the national level. The Office of the Ombudsman is responsible for the Advisory Council Secretariat at the national level. Thus, in its structure, the Secretary of the National Advisory Council fights corruption and injustice. International comparative research has conclusively revealed that the success of Rwanda’s government against corruption cannot be underestimated and the key reasons for such a reality lies in the government’s anti-corruption initiatives, plans, and action at all levels (Baez-Camargo et al., 2017; Sebudubudu, Khatib & Bozzini, 2017).


Baez-Camargo and Tharcisse (2018:26) recently postulated that empirical research and evidence overwhelmingly suggests that petty corruption as a normalised practice has been eliminated in Rwanda. Such observations highlight the fact that Rwanda’s trajectory is being widely and globally recognised. Moreover, the country is on par with a very small number which have achieved a substantial reduction in levels of corruption in the last 30-40 years (Mungiu-Pippidi & Hartmann, 2019). In fact, empirical research has further conclusively shown that in less than 20 years of high levels of corruption, Rwanda has achieved successes and brought the country on par with ‘middle income’ countries.


During this 20-year period, the anti-corruption efforts concentrated on the reduction of administrative corruption – the primary terrain of the scourge in a society struggling to overcome a destructive genocide and civil war of major proportions. The success achieved under a seriously coordinated effort has been instrumental in increasing the developmental levels of the economy and the country’s fiscal stability. Such a success against a grave economic and social pandemic does not imply that administrative corruption does not exist at all. However, the relentless advancements at all levels (careful investigations, persistent public servants training, community communication and support structures, committed alliances with civil society, highly skilled anti-corruption methods, and punishment of the guilty) has moved the country’s public sector forward.


Rwanda’s law-abiding public sector, which is rooted in solid and diversified legislation, is the reward of a journey along an arduous road. Internationally, it is recognised as a significant developmental achievement which can be utilised as a guide going forward for countries facing substantial struggles in their efforts to defeat corruption. For this aspiration to be realisable for many countries, the fight against corruption can only succeed through honesty, accountability, transparency, education, effectiveness and efficiency, strong public sector authority and competency, and cooperation, synergy and a persuasive understanding between public and private sectors, civil society, and all sectors of the country’s population (World Bank, 2020).


SEYCHELLES


The Advisory Council of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles was established in 2016 and comprises four members. Its primary aim is to oversee the Commission’s administrative policy and review provisions of laws contributing to the prevention of corruption. The Council has the authority to investigate, detect, and inhibit corrupt practices and, according to its founding law, it is a neutral, independent, and self-governing entity, which is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.


The body also makes recommendations to the President for effective implementation of existing and new legislation. The founding four members of the Council were appointed following a thorough and detailed interview process. The new group members of the Council were announced in September 2021 (Sedrick, 2021).


The Advisory Council derives its work from its independent ability to investigate, detect, and inhibit corrupt practices. The work encompasses a wide variety of multi-dimensional research initiatives and direct assistance at all levels of operations undertaken by the primary anti-corruption body; the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS), which was also established under the Anti-Corruption Act in 2016.


In this process, the Council is responsible to provide research, analysis, and recommendations which facilitate the Commission’s functions, processes, and operations in terms of:


  • Filing cases on the basis of enquiry or investigation

  • Conducting investigation of offences

  • Conducting cases

  • Performing functions assigned to the Commission by the existing Acts

  • Holding enquiry into allegations of corruption

  • Reviewing and recognising laws for the prevention of corruption and submitting recommendations to the Commission

  • Raising awareness and promoting the values of honesty and integrity amongst all communities, with a view to prevent corruption

  • Organising seminars, symposiums, and workshops on the subjects falling within the Commission’s functions and duties

  • Identifying causes of corruption in the context of the country’s socio-economic conditions

  • Determining the procedures of enquiry, investigation, and filing of cases

  • Investigating a public officer’s conduct that the Commission has reasonable grounds to believe is connected with corrupt practices

  • Coordinating and cooperating with other institutions authorised to investigate, prosecute, prevent, and combat corrupt practices

  • Guiding implementation of an integrated approach leading to the eradication of corruption

  • Consulting, cooperating, and exchanging information with appropriate bodies internationally that are authorised to conduct inquiries or investigations in relation to corruption

  • Adopting and strengthening mechanisms for educating the public to respect the public good and public interest

  • Developing educational and other programmes in collaboration with the media

  • Promoting an environment for upholding ethics in governance; and

  • Disseminating information and sensitising the public about the negative effects of corruption.


Members of the Advisory Council travel regularly to attend international conferences that address anti-corruption state issues, to network, draw insights, and share knowledge. Furthermore, their strategy and tactics, in terms of examination of complaints and evidence in their duties, have been described as slow, complex, and meticulous, leading to an appropriate assessment for submission to the main body. Though it has been mentioned that such a process has been successful, on occasion, external pressures exert a strong influence, resulting in fear of failure.


By ensuring appropriate procedures are adhered to despite pressures, at the end of the process the evidence is often much stronger. This goes beyond the national context. Following the correct international protocols has been described as the best guarantor of being on the correct path towards the next stage of an investigation. One of the body’s acknowledged achievements has been the launching and development of a comprehensive educational and awareness campaign to rally society behind the efforts. Such initiatives have a direct multidimensional impact on all sectors of the country, including the youth, civil society, private sector, and the public sector.


Utilisation of all media to strengthen public relations in order to educate the public about corruption has been considered successful. One of the leading factors that contributed to this success is the active cooperation, coordination, and synergy of the Advisory Council with all the government departments, entities, independent bodies as well as civil society and the private sector. It is believed that the country’s existing legislation provides sufficient opportunities and access to authority for members of the Council when the need arises, to scrutinise confidential agreements as well as records, books, reports, returns, and other documents that relate to the work of any public or private body (U4, 2020).


Seychelles has a score of 66 and is in position 27 on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 – and is recorded as the number one least corrupt African country.


BOTSWANA


The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), the most important anti-corruption body in Botswana, bears similarities with the future South African National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, as it also initially begun as an advisory state entity before a fully-fledged body with necessary institutional authority. It was established in 1994 to combat corruption through thoroughly researched investigations, prevention, and education. The entity operates under the President's Office and is not formally independent; though its staff are subject to public service regulations and independent of citizen oversight committees (Isbell, 2017).


Its founding was based on a government decision to turn the tide, described as a very decisive moment by observers, following a well-publicised series of high-level corruption events in the country, which had a reputation for solid governance. The events created a public outcry amongst Botswana’s citizenry to the point where it was impossible not to act. The outcries coincided with the outcomes of the 1994 Corruption and Economic Crime Act (CECA), which re-categorised new forms of corruption, and passed most of the anti-corruption responsibility to the new DCEC from the hands of the country’s police force (Isbell, 2017).


An analysis of the Directorate’s anti-corruption philosophy has revealed that the unit, since its establishment and inauguration, has morphed into a highly efficient institution with mixed results. The educational programmes have reached the country’s population, including those in the far-flung corners of the rural lands, while its investigative efforts are widely criticised for a number of reasons after high-profile corruption cases were unsuccessfully prosecuted in court – as opposed to the successes involving petty corruption. This is attributed to the fact that prosecution evidence presented was purely based on advice without rigorous legal analysis, and that the entity was, in its ‘first level’ phase, seriously understaffed. The subsequent legislative reforms – transformation of the entity’s role which began in 2010 and beyond – changed the institution’s path to anti-corruption success (Kuris, 2013).


At first the key responsibilities of the DCEC were related to the promotion of ethical behaviour in public service organisations based on codes of conduct, maintenance of transparency, rule of law, and good governance at all levels of corruption prevention interventions. They were later expanded to encompass wide-ranging responsibilities, duties, powers, and operational independence. These were concentrated on three key strategies: investigation, prevention, and public education. Its members had the power to search, extradite suspects, seize, and freeze assets, arrest, confiscate travel documents, and recommend prosecutions to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, which controlled all prosecutions (Nwokorie & Viinamäki, 2017).


As time passed, these initiatives proved instrumental and decisive in the fight against corruption because of the close relations of the body with a wide variety of stakeholders won through the activities of the DCEC leadership. This fact of a societal united front proved to be a key element as NGOs, community watchdog bodies, whistle-blowers in both the public and the private sectors, and citizens became allies of the state institution; assisted by a number of specialist anti-corruption units set up in all ministries involved with preliminary investigations of possible offences in their domains (Sebudubudu, 2003:126-127).


In the latter years of the 21st century, international organisations considered DCEC to be the best anti-corruption agency in Africa. It was successful in both the prevention, education as well as positive outcome in the alliance with all anti-corruption state institutions to strengthen accountability and transparency in the country. One of the differences between the Botswana anti-corruption public leaders and those in many African countries has been the open and transparent connection and collaboration with intellectual and research-based think tanks such as BIDPA (Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis), instrumental in the designing and development of a national anti-corruption policy framework (Kuris, 2013).


The planning and implementation of its three-pronged strategy starts with the prevention of corruption, which is preceded by a process of thorough investigation of existing loopholes and their detection; investigation of suspicious transactions and economic crimes at all levels; and finally, the file/s submission to the DPP when sufficient and irrefutable evidence has been collected. Public education is a complementary strategy but is as vital as the others. To achieve these, the DCEC has been well-resourced and works meticulously with all judicial institutions (Jones, 2017:213-214).


The organisation’s new staff develops extra skills and expertise through highly recognised training courses, and performance management training through highly qualified "performance improvement coordinators”, including the Basel Institute of Governance. The latter institute developed an internal training framework and new investigative manual, as well as regular classes for all investigators. Its performance indicators included several investigations; launched a number of completed investigations; ratio of number of investigations to numbers of staff; as well as conviction rate and levels of implementation of recommendations derived from preventive work and public opinion surveys (Sebudubudu, 2003:130).


Much significance is given to assignment studies that deal with existing systems and procedures and their weaknesses in terms of systems and processes. The DCEC has been instrumental in promoting an anti-corruption culture in all state agencies – due to many of its officers having been seconded to other ministries in their effort to establish “corruption prevention committees” – as well as all oversight bodies operating in the President’s Office, including the Procurement Department and the State Auditor, Customs, Ombudsman, Immigration Department, Police Service, and international organisations such as Interpol (Anti-Corruption Authorities, 2020).


Conclusion


The above case studies provide an opportunity for comparative analysis and learning. However, South Africa, like any people, is unique in some respects and therefore differences are bound to exist that have a bearing on how anti-corruption in South Africa works, and the realities informing it. As a result, while drawing lessons about best practices from the above is essential, it will be short-sighted not to consider the socio-political context that characterises South Africa. The following research findings and discussion accounts for this complementary element to ensure that the formation and functioning of NACAC is based on a solid structural and operational foundation. That is fit-for-purpose for the South African context.


THEME 2: Research method, findings and analyses


Brief Overview of Methodological Approach, Strategy, and Sampling


A total of ten (10) expert leaders based in the public sector, business community, and civil society were purposely sampled to participate in the qualitative interviews. Two (2) declined the offer due to prior commitments that were unworkable with the interview scheduling irrespective of the researcher’s attempts to reschedule. Therefore, eight (8) leaders responded to the set standard open-ended questions that were based on key issues related to the structures, processes, realities, and expectations of the new body: NACAC. To ensure anonymity, as agreed upon by the researcher and the expert leaders, no names are used to attribute views expressed, to any of the leaders. Instead, numbers (1 to 8) have been assigned to each interview participant as follows:


  • Expert Leader 1: Retired Senior Member of Chapter 9 Institution, Cape Town.

  • Expert Leader 2: Senior Researcher, NGO, Durban.

  • Expert Leader 3: Senior Researcher, NGO, Cape Town.

  • Expert Leader 4: Senior Public Servant, Provincial Government, KwaZulu-Natal.

  • Expert Leader 5: Senior Public Servant, Chapter 9 Institution, Gauteng.

  • Expert Leader 6: Businessperson, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

  • Expert Leader 7: Senior Academic Researcher, Gauteng.

  • Expert Leader 8: Senior Administrator, Provincial Government, Gauteng.


Summary of Research Findings and Analyses


A preliminary briefing took place as a means to confirm that the expert leaders are sensitised to the envisioned NACAC and recent developments in the subject matter, in addition to their existing in-depth knowledge. As it would later emerge, while there is consensus on a few issues, equally, questions and opinions are divergent on other issues of interest. For example, while it is debatable that some anti-corruption agencies and bodies are riddled with corrupt elements that undermine the fight against corruption, there is consensus on “Scorpions’ days when corruption was certain to have repercussions.”


Four of the leaders (number 2, 4, 5, and 8) highlighted the complete lack of effort to put in place and use scientific integrity pre-screening processes to maximise prospects of ensuring that the top leadership of anti-corruption bodies comprises competent and ethical leaders, especially in the supply-chain and procurement management, investigations and prosecution services, internal audits, and risk management offices. These offices are integral to the integrity of the anti-corruption bodies’ ability to function effectively and efficiently and to build public trust – without which it will be virtually impossible to mobilise stakeholders in anti-corruption efforts.


Interestingly, leader 3 suggested that NACAC could face the same fate as the Scorpions, as it may neither enjoy sufficient legal status nor guarantee security of tenure of office. He further opined: “It is consistent with the ANC’s NEC decision in 2020 to establish a single, permanent, and independent agency with the capacity to deal with corruption decisively. When one considers the Glenister litigation cases, it suggests that poor political advice was rendered without significant acknowledgement of the thrust of the findings.”


Amongst other factors, incapacity and illegality could see the agency dissipating, unless duly addressed from inception. This means that, for the new body to exist and operate, it is inescapable that a new law will have to be enacted and passed – a process that is unpredictable. He points to the strong belief that, with support from civil society and the business community, the Democratic Alliance is prepared to present a ‘Private Members Bill’ that could compete with the plans, and the growing ‘look to private prosecution’ view expressed by some – including Eskom’s leadership recently – when there are delays and failures in the state’s anti-corruption agencies.


Legitimacy, representability, and trust are intricately linked and crucial to the success of NACAC. This is according to expert leader 5, who emphasised that the structure could assume the representative character of NEDLAC (the National Economic Development and Labour Council) to ensure that it mobilises all stakeholders of society against corruption. However, as she cautioned, members of the public need to feel a sense of institutional trust so that they can report, collaborate, and support it. Ideally, she elaborated, the proposed NACAC must have a witness protection programme that falls under the control of retired Constitutional Court judges who are no longer interested in political power. Besides, retired judges, especially of an apex court such as the Constitutional Court, command moral and ethical respect. It would, all matters considered, be likely that they will be trusted by many, if not all, stakeholders.


It is common cause that experience triumphs anything, in many fields. This is a reminder by leader 1, who noted the importance of ensuring that the selection of the NACAC body is more informed by meritocracy than anything else. In particular, according to him, “… the selected members [must] have a developed understanding of the subject matter [that] they will be dealing with. Their knowledge and experience, beyond the technical, should include knowledge on internal workings and systems of public sector organisations, and how corruption manifests itself within the sector.”


In addition to the technical know-how and sectoral knowledge, there is consensus on a number of considerations that will ensure that NACAC succeeds in its mandate as per the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2020-2030:


  • NACAC is authorised to issue relevant directives and oversee their implementation. Without such a drastic step forward, any hope for NACAC’s success would easily be inhibited by pedantic bureaucratic layers put down by those who do not want to account (leaders 1, 5, 7, and 8).

  • That these instructions are considered mandatory by the entire security cluster (leaders 1, 3, 4, 6, and 7).

  • That all Cabinet Ministers actively support NACAC and its mandate (leaders 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7).

  • That the Accounting Officers and Accounting Authorities (as per PFMA/MFMA) actively support and oversee NACAC directives – and account for the effective implementation and ongoing application (leaders 1, 4, and 7).

  • That NACAC directives are incorporated within the internal control regime of each, and every public sector organisation stipulated – including the PFMA/MFMA – internal audit function, the risk management function, and prescribed procurement practices (leaders 1, 4, 5, and 7).

  • That every public official involved in the running of the entity must undergo serious essential training, covering the nature of public sector corruption and NACAC prescribed anti-corruption practices (leaders 1, 4, and 7).

  • That various members possessing different expertise and industry knowledge will add respective value to the body. This implies, for example, that NACAC senior representatives would need to establish and lead different subcommittees or working groups based on their skill sets and knowledge. It cannot be expected for each member to be conversant in all aspects of corruption.


Two of the expert leaders (4 and 6) highlighted the indisputable fact that the forthcoming report emanating from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture would open additional avenues of challenges at all levels of the State and, possibly, result in new relations and actions undertaken by anti-corruption agencies. Such new decisions and outcomes were already described as opening novel paths in the relationship between the new body with organisations such as the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Special Investigating Unit (SIU), as seen by the collaboration between the entities on a number of high-profile cases. Therefore, it is important for NACAC to not be rigidly formed in the beginning but rather to allow the structure to emerge and mature with time in the first two to three years of its operation (added leaders 2 and 5).


It was widely acknowledged by some of the leaders (3 and 6) that the challenges associated with NACAC’s planning and operations as described in the NACS will be extremely difficult, due to the vast expansion and complex composition and dimensions of a public sector characterised by structures and functions of separate autonomous institutions across the three spheres. Considering that NACAC has the responsibility to deal with each one of these equally and comprehensively, it is a foregone conclusion that the establishment of a supportive Secretariat is crucial for it to fulfil its mandate (leaders 1, 5, and 8).


While the NACAC leadership should be the “brains trust” of the body, members of the Secretariat should be attuned to the subject matter and goals of the NACAC to constructively execute the instructions of the body and manage the daily operations. This would require the Secretariat members to possess a sound understanding of the internal workings and legal frameworks of all state institutions as well as report writing, events and meetings management, and other administrative abilities that would be necessary for the comprehensive and successful operational duties and responsibilities needed. For instance, one expert leader (3) referred to their knowledge of how the interplay between the National Prosecuting Authority and Department of Justice’s leadership limits resources to restrict meaningful prosecution in certain cases.


South African government and state machinery is characterised by fragments. Leaders 1, 4, and 6 warned that the configuration of NACAC should not carry the same fragmented character, because there is great potential for conflicting responsibilities and duplication of areas of competencies. This could stifle the effectiveness of the overall anti-corruption intentions of the government at many levels, as observed from some of the challenges encountered by the Anti-Corruption Task Team. This implies that clear formalised areas of responsibility and authority that exist within a single coherent anti-corruption strategy and action plan are crucial to its success.


There were reservations regarding the proposed term of office for the interim body, which is two years, by some of the participants. Leaders 1, 5, and 6 were concerned that with a change of leadership soon after its establishment, NACAC could lose momentum and the necessary sense of urgency. Furthermore, as expert leader 7 added, corruption is a multifaceted phenomenon to be unravelled within a short space of time. The intricate details of grand corruption, as revealed, for example, at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, and complex vast networks to disentangle take a great deal of time and resources.


Resourcing, staffing, and financing of NACAC was also a common theme. Given the shrinking tax base due to unemployment and a stagnant economic growth rate amidst expanding service delivery mandates, leader 7 recommends that, to supplement operational budget, the body could use additional funds from the Criminal Asset Recovery Accounts to ensure that it has enough funds to meet its financial needs, including hiring of competent staff and the ability to retain them, especially in the investigating unit and the Secretariat.


Conclusion


The above findings bring a few salient factors to light that must be taken into consideration when formalising NACAC. While it is generally accepted that it is impossible to attend to all issues raised by the expert leaders at once, it is worth sieving through them and deciding on the critical ones, those which have the potential to direct the structure, operation, and mandate of the body to ensure that it is fit-for-purpose at inception stage. The following section gives a detailed overview of how the researcher, in consultation with the reference group from the School of Public Leadership and Inclusive Society Institute, understands NACAC as conceived by the NACS document.


THEME 3: NACAC in practice


This section represents an informed attempt to chart what NACAC could look like after considering the research findings (theme 2) and best practices from the case studies found on the African continent (theme 1).


The establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council is the beginning of a two-year process, leading to the creation of a permanent entity that will lead the fight against corruption in South Africa. This process concentrates on, particularly, the management of the initial transitional matters of the new permanent organisation that will later emerge. The key mandate of NACAC is strategy implementation of research and conceptual development, culminating in a draft proposal for Cabinet that will ultimately inform the establishment of the overarching body.


The foundation upon which the new body is built should be informed by a sound legal basis governing the institution, which should elaborate especially on financial, personnel, procedural, and operational issues related to the agency. Preparation of internal organisational structures and regulations including the internal code of conduct; initiating the process of recruitment of staff; working out internal administrative, operational, and reporting procedures, and establishing manageable work plans and benchmarks to assess progress should form part of the initial stage.


NACAC Composition and Staff Selection Criteria


During the first transitional period, between 7 and 10 senior representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society appointed by the President will comprise the body, and they will be supported by a full-time dedicated Secretariat. Government Minister/s who have participated in the Clusters of Directors General and Clusters of Ministers established by the Presidency in line with Section 85 of the Constitution of the Republic are considered to be the appropriate government representatives to be prioritised to represent government. This is because they have sufficient experience and knowledge of issues associated with coordination and integration of government priorities and programmes, the study and processing of Cabinet memoranda, draft bills, policies, documents, and strategic decisions for consideration and approval by Cabinet. The incumbents of the Governance, State Capacity, and Institutional Development Cluster (GSCID); Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS); or the International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster (ICTS) could be candidates to represent the government.


The National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) – a coalition formed by the government, business, and civil society sectors – could potentially serve as a ready-forum from which to choose non-governmental representatives, as it already serves as a forum to discuss corruption challenges. It could be considered along with NEDLAC. Other civil society and organised interest bodies such as Business Unity South Africa offer third-level options.


In terms of civil society organisations, the existence of a wide variety and diversified anti-corruption entities makes the choice challenging on a number of levels, but inevitably a critical, open, and democratically undertaken debate can lead to an appropriate decision. If the government needs to tap into existing structures, the National Development Commission, and National Governing Council on APRM (African Peer Review Mechanism), for example, offers access to a wide range of civil society bodies at an apex level.


In terms of the Secretariat, the key elements for selection should prioritise the knowledge and understanding that exists within all relationships NACAC has with other anti-corruption bodies. The Secretariat members employed after a successful transparent and participatory interview will be well educated, skilful, and capable employees executing daily administrative tasks for the organisation. The existence of soft and hard skills is to be supplemented with important professional aspects such as technological knowledge, systems design, and database management, South Africa’s anti-corruption legislation, rules and regulations, and agreements with African and international bodies.


The importance of NACAC means that members of the Secretariat should be attuned to the subject matter and goals of the body so as to constructively carry out the instructions of the organisation – especially as it will be the main daily conduit of communications between NACAC and government departments, anti-corruption bodies, public enterprises, etc. This would require that the Secretariat has a good understanding of the internal workings and the legal frameworks of all these organisations – as well as all the report writing, meeting organising, and other administrative abilities that would be necessary to achieve day-to-day operational goals.


NACAC’s Authority, Mandate, and Responsibilities


NACAC derives its key primary mandate from the fact that it is the entity that oversees the processes, structures, plans, and implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and all anti-corruption programmes as envisioned by NACS. In this process, NACAC could then become an organisation that periodically reviews the NACS; and could call for public hearings and/or submissions and recommend changes to Parliament if and when deemed necessary. That is, the body will have the power, authority, influence, and responsibility to ensure cooperation, coordination, synergy, monitoring, and evaluation of all anti-corruption projects and programmes in all societal sectors, including compliance with all international and multilateral institutions and conventions.


The research, policy formulation, and advisory roles are integral to the existence of the entity. Research activities on anti-corruption led to the creation and development of new knowledge that is instrumental to the processes of analysing and dissecting operational, regulatory, and legislative inadequacies and devising proposals of relevant interventions. Such initiatives and outcomes give rise to the formulation of new initiatives, measures, and policies aimed at preventing corruption.


While in the process of researching the necessity and/or suitability of a single anti-corruption agency, the management of stakeholder relations and partnerships – their engagement and development – ultimately generates a deeper understanding of sectoral and industry forum coordination. Within such a functional and structural reality, hosting regular anti-corruption summits amongst representatives of all anti-corruption bodies becomes inevitable, as such undertakings could prompt further development of relevant interfaces or engagement mechanisms.


Therefore, one of the key responsibilities of NACAC is the continuous liaison and collaboration with other anti-corruption agencies and bodies, including but not limited to constitutional institutions such as Chapter Nine institutions and the Public Service Commission, law enforcement agencies, the NPA, the SIU, the intelligence services, specialised units in departments, and any coordinating mechanism for reactive and law-enforcement activities (currently the ACTT).


Within the same operational terrain, the importance of highlighting failure or any undue, unconstitutional, political, and/or other interference in the operation of these bodies and bringing it to the attention of Parliament, cannot be overstated. In fact, calling attention to deficiencies related to capacitation, impediments, funding, and resources for anti-corruption bodies is a significant functional objective. It is necessary for NACAC to prioritise raising the alarm on any unethical or integrity-deficient conduct of the head or senior management of any anti-corruption body, as an early warning system for attempts at state capture or any action that could result in state capture.


Design and function of a coordinating body


Anti-corruption agencies in South Africa are poorly coordinated due to overlapping mandates, diversity, and institutional lack of clarity. NACAC can achieve effective inter-agency cooperation as a coordinating body through sufficient capacity, resources, authority, and political will. A number of well-defined measures could create effective cross-agency cooperation, which might lead to proactive information and communication, joint training initiatives, and evaluating and monitoring the planning processes and implementation of anti-corruption efforts by the existing bodies.


In many countries, the effective coordination of anti-corruption work is greatly undermined by the failure to consider cooperation issues from the design stage of the anti-corruption institutional arrangements. This results in inadequate or non-existent coordination mechanisms that lack resources, capacity, and political backing. Empirical research has shown that on many occasions coordination of anti-corruption bodies is weak and inconsistent, even non-existent. Although the mandates of such bodies are defined by laws, rules, and regulations, these entities exist more on paper than in practice and therefore lack a pro-active approach, powers, and political leverage to act in a way that enables them to fulfil their mandates efficiently. Political and legal support across the board is a necessity if NACAC is to succeed in effectively implementing inter-agency cooperation (U4, 2005).


Immediate and continuous planning, together with operational and political attention, is required from the onset. Coordination issues need to be debated and planned from the design stage of the anti-corruption policy making. In addition, integration in the overall anti-corruption architecture is important. A coordinating body’s success is based on a strong understanding of how and where the various mandates and responsibilities meet and interact. A new anti-corruption architecture enables the reallocation of responsibilities and roles whereby institutional hierarchies, mandates are clarified, and competencies are readjusted. This means that respective institutions are given clear lines of responsibility, as clear rules of engagement guide the collaboration and interaction of the existing bodies (Meagher, 2005).


Coordination can be the solution to the primary concern in the anti-corruption fight in South Africa, as research has shown inadequate networking between different entities with different tasks. At present, South Africa has fourteen anti-corruption bodies struggling to do their work. The poor state of the economy, in part due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, and the reality of a continuous fiscal austerity calls for a prudent approach to the reform of the country’s regulatory landscape. Any reforms should be considered and decided upon based on maximum value on expenditure.


A suitable point of departure could be the adoption of a well-coordinated and networked approach that brings together the heads of all the existing entities. These include the Chapter Nine institutions mandated with anti-corruption work, including the Public Service Commission, all the law enforcement agencies in all their various forms and guises, and the intelligence sector.


Cross-cutting reforms – especially those associated with corruption and the anti-corruption fight – depend on valuable information and communication-sharing between the public and the implementing agencies in addition to access and dissemination of supporting anti-corruption documents and policies. The developments in information technology have opened increasing opportunities in this field and are instrumental in providing innovative tools to promote information and data-sharing across agencies.


The design and implementation of a systematic and proactive strategy of information-sharing amongst all agencies will be crucial to help build and sustain trusting relationships which will ultimately bring about longer-term cooperation. This means that NACAC is designed to take the lead in crucial information exchange as a strategy to gain the confidence of all other agencies (De Sousa, 2010).


Resources and Capacity Needs


The existing official National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2020-2030 states that, in terms of budget and resourcing, and given the fact that the NACAC will exist for a maximum of two years, this structure can explore the use of funds from the Criminal Asset Recovery Accounts. This is a separate account within the National Revenue Fund (NRF) into which property and monies are deposited after a judicial confiscation, forfeiture, or order – a process rooted in the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 1998 (Act No. 121 of 1998). The hypothesis behind asset forfeiture legislation is that, by forfeiting or confiscating the proceeds or profits of crime, the incentive for committing specific crimes is reduced, while the state uses the proceeds to strengthen its anti-corruption efforts.


It is important that a legal opinion should be sought as to the authority of the National Treasury to redirect the distribution of these funds. It is a natural cause that, if found to be legally permissible, funding of NACAC (and its Secretariat) could produce a considerable politico-societal return by way of reduced corruption – reduced loss of public funds in public sector institutions – which in turn further justifies its funding and increases the pool of resources government needs to deliver services.


Beyond resources, institutional capacities needed include:


  • A Research and Policy Unit that is responsible for researching anti-corruption initiatives. Its key responsibility is to facilitate and conduct research and analytical studies on issues pertaining to the development of anti-corruption initiatives locally, regionally, and internationally. While researchers employed in the unit can be directly involved in staff training throughout the anti-corruption institutional terrain, contacts, meetings, and digital conferences can connect the staff with colleagues and academic researchers on the African continent to exchange ideas, research, and insights. Potential staff members of such a unit should be university graduates with at least a master’s degree in the social, law or economic sciences, preferably with knowledge and/or exposure to anti-corruption realities.

  • The unit might be strengthened by the success of the innovative model currently being developed by the University of Pretoria together with the Presidency, which aspires to create a highly networked governance method that will link up existing researchers in a very lean organisational sense. Such thinking could influence the future development of the notion of applying higher levels of coordination and focus to the fight against corruption. Important to note is that the unit does not make recommendations. It presents its final reports to its leadership, its sister organisations, and finally to the anti-corruption bodies and the National Parliament.

  • A Project Management Office that will operationalise the existing policies, strategies, and procedures together with the existing multilateral initiatives on governance and anti-corruption; identify the dynamics and realities for risk analysis and institutional assessments; governance and anti-corruption project design measures; supervision monitoring and evaluation, and similar operational matters.

  • An Education Office that will operate at two levels: the institutional and the public. The institutional level will focus on training all members of NACAC as well as those in all anti-corruption agencies. This will involve an ‘induction training programme’ providing basic training to new employees, all of whom spend the first few months of their service in the Research and Policy Unit in order to improve their knowledge on corruption and anti-corruption realities, investigations, successes, processes, structures, and challenges, before being considered for the final posting. The new recruits’ training could last at least a year, while the trainees work and learn at the Research and Policy Unit. During the process the courses include corruption prevention, communication skills, rules of evidence, law, computer forensics, financial investigation skills, and cognitive interview techniques, amongst others. Throughout the period of employment, the training continues at higher levels. The public pillar is for awareness campaigns and educational programmes in order to mobilise society in the fight against corruption.

  • A Whistle-blower Protection Unit that is responsible for considering the circumstances under which suspicions of wrongdoing can be reported inside and outside the organisation; has the knowledge and means to provide legal and physical protection to the whistle-blowers; ensures that the existing reporting channels, such as information hotlines, also exist for individuals working in the private sector, who are involved in the provision of local and regional public services; encourages positive attitudes towards whistle-blowing amongst citizens by promoting whistle-blowing policies and publicising post-reporting follow-ups, to ensure that individuals considering reporting suspected cases of wrongdoing have access to advice that is confidential and free of charge; forms part of external bodies such as NGOs and national associations; and introduces periodic assessments of the effectiveness of rules and regulations on the protection of whistle-blowers.

  • The treatment of whistle-blowers in South Africa has led to proposals for a reform of the Protected Disclosure Act (PDA) after representative organisations of those who speak up voiced their frustrations. According to the organisations, the PDA does not protect whistle-blowers since whistle-blowing still leads to job losses. The value of whistle-blowing for the public good has increased worldwide over the last 40 years. In many countries, both state and federal statutes have been put in place to protect whistle-blowers from employers and institutions. This is a direct result of the fear public employees face when exposing corruption. New strict laws, rules, and regulations have been introduced worldwide to protect whistle-blowers, and so doing help the fight against corruption by encouraging more people to expose misconduct or illegal and dishonest activity (Lee & Kleiner, 2011:342).


A recommended amendment to the PDA is to afford the complete protection of all government employees and especially the whistle-blowers. The amendment should prohibit the government from taking any personnel action against an employee after they have disclosed information that they believe exposes gross mismanagement, corruption, waste of funds, or the abuse of authority.


Conclusion


To gain protection from the amendment, a public employee needs to show that a protected disclosure was made, the nature of which the accused official was aware of, and that a connection exists between the retaliation from the official and the actions of the employee which induced the retaliation (US Department of Labour, N.d.).



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