Commission on how to fix South Africa’s broken state

Image: Steve Buissinne

The South African judicial commission that’s been investigating graft identified a litany of failings by the state and made a number of suggestions on how they should be fixed.

Evidence presented to the commission showed “South Africa suffers from pervasive corruption in both the public and private sectors”, the panel said in the first of a three-part report released on Tuesday.

These are some of the key recommendations made by the panel:

  • The government should publish a national charter that sets out ethical standards to be applied when buying goods and services for the state, and all public servants and officials should have to sign it.
  • An independent, impartial agency should be established to guard against corruption in the issuing of state tenders and contracts.
  • Laws should be amended to protect people who reveal information about corrupt practices and fraud.
  • The prosecution of corporations implicated in wrongdoing could be be deferred if they make full disclosure, agree to take action to ensure offenses aren’t repeated and pay a fine or are subjected to other remedial action.
  • Consideration should be given to enacting a law to establish a professional body that would raise state procurement standards, and set out the qualifications and training required for responsible officials.
  • National treasury should formulate state procurement transparency standards for public entities that are consistent with those of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • State accounting officers should be protected from prosecution, provided they act in good faith and aren’t negligent.
  • Laws should be amended to criminalise grants to political parties if the donor makes them in expectation of winning tenders or contracts.
  • Consideration should be given to centralising more state procurement.
  • The president must must ensure the State Security Agency isn’t abused serve the interests or agenda of certain individuals.  — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP