11 August 2020

Crime and corruption harm vulnerable citizens the most Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) calls for swift action against corruption and theft

 

BUSA CEO, Cas Coovadia, commented: “Corruption kills. It kills nurses, doctors, commuters, and citizens relaying on fake PPE or without any protection because of corruption and theft. Corruption diverts funds from public services to private pockets leaving the most vulnerable in our society at risk. And when funds meant for struggling businesses are stolen or contracts diverted to cronies – then workers go hungry and legitimate business go bankrupt.

“Crime and corruption have a disproportionate impact on the poor, severely reducing access to services like health, public safety and education. Tackling corruption is at the heart of our ambitious plans to reform the economy for all. Only then will all South Africans, especially our most vulnerable, participate in our nation’s post pandemic re-set.”

BUSA, together with the Black Business Council, established Business for South Africa (B4SA), which has provided a platform for the South African business sector to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research and analysis from B4SA’s recently released Economic Recovery Strategy concludes that corruption ranks as one of the top impediments to economic stability, and undermines BBBEE and inclusive growth, particularly following Covid-related economic shutdowns. This situation has been compounded by many years of economic decline, leading to ratings agency downgrades.

The Economic Recovery Strategy, which urgently calls on all parties in South Africa to cease any form of fraud, highlights crime and corruption as priority focus areas requiring urgent action. Only then can we deliver an inclusive and accelerated economic recovery.

Coovadia added: “There is no doubt corruption impedes investment and service delivery, with a disastrous effect on growth, jobs and public health. There must be a zero-tolerance policy on corruption. We must urgently address procurement corruption and ensure accountability for public funds allocated to supporting small business development”.

South Africa must immediately implement all measures available to confront corruption. It is important to utilise both human and financial resources more effectively and address corruption through the concerted attention of both governments and businesses. Honest, competent, and dedicated staff using the using the latest technology and working with our world-class financial services sector, can quickly turn the tide. Then we can attract investment and grow rapidly.

A vigorous anti-corruption agenda will not be complete without removing all forms of corruption, from public institutions and private firms, and across all sectors that facilitate bribes and criminal transactions. BUSA will continue to demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach to any of its member associations, and their members, shown to be involved in any corrupt activities.

Coovadia concludes: “SA is in danger of becoming a country in which society has lost its moral compass and corruption and looting becomes the norm. We cannot allow this to happen. Leaders across society must call out corruption consistently, irrespective of the parties involved. Government, through President Ramaphosa, must be absolutely unequivocal, publicly, in both condemning corruptions as abhorrent and then taking swift, consistent, and ruthlessly action to against perpetrators no matter whether they are in political parties, government, the private sector or other organs of civil society. We appreciate the need to investigate and build strong cases against corrupting parties, but we urge that additional resources be devoted to this and that we soon see people in orange overalls.”

Only a concerted and collaborative effort – with a focussed crackdown on corruption and theft – will lead South Africans to shared prosperity.

BUSA CEO Cas Coovadia