We must all do our bit to combat corruption because it is a serious impediment to the country's economic and social development.
This was one of the viewpoints of Prof Pregala Pillay from the School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University (SU) in her recent inaugural lecture. Pillay is also the Director of the Anti-Corruption Centre for Education and Research of Stellenbosch University (ACCERUS), and holder of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and ACCERUS Research Chair.
Pillay said corruption has serious negative repercussions for South Africa, as it retards development, perpetuates and increases poverty, causes inequitable income distribution, economic decline and lack of investment.
She pointed out that corruption undermines our first democratic Constitution which is founded on the fulfilment of expectations of all citizens for ethical, honest, transparent, fair and corrupt free public administration that will lead to effective utilisation of state resources towards economic and social development.
Pillay argued that one of the reasons for the rampant corruption is a lack of ethics in society.
“The increasingly higher levels of corruption have become a daily reality and is considered to be the direct effect of erosion of individual and collective ethics in all sectors of society."
“Unethical and corrupt state practices in both the administrative and political levels are the antithesis of good governance, a crucial element in the process of building citizens' trust in government. Unethical, corrupt actions negatively affect citizens' trust, a sad reality in our country at this time."
“The erosion of the trust on the part of the South African citizenry is a reflection of deeply and materially rooted belief that the whole spectrum of the country's public sector is corrupt, unaccountable and captured by a large number of openly debated and other economic forces."
Pillay said we need to enhance an ethical culture and strengthen trust and confidence in government because anti-corruption legislation and policies haven't had the desired effect.
“South Africa has some of the most comprehensive anti-corruption legislation in the world but unfortunately, implementation and enforcement, thus far, has been somewhat unsuccessful and ineffective."
“The existence of a comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework and reputable, efficient and successful state organs has been unable to boost trust and confidence in the state and its organs. It is a conundrum of major proportions that can only be solved through a continuous participation of all citizens in the country at different sectors of South Africa's political life."
Pillay said since corruption is a multi-faceted reality, we need a multi-pronged approach to address it.
In this regard she highlighted the role ACCERUS and SAICA can play in promoting a corruption-free society and changing the way we address corruption.
- Photo: Proff Pregala Pillay (middle), Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, and Johan Malan, Acting-Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, at the inaugural lecture.
- Photographer: Anton Jordaan