Tag Archives: corruption

Corruption in South African schools continues to grow

Corruption Watch South Africa

 

Corruption and irregularities in South African schools continues to grow with Corruption Watch receiving more than 300 reports of corruption in Schools. New information and research undertaken by Mxit has confirmed that corruption is on the rise and urgent attention is required.

The survey into corruption in South Africa school was done by market research company Pondering Panda in order to get a deeper understanding of corruption in schools. Over 3200 individuals aged between 13 and 34 were interviewed. This sample set is far more comprehensive than sample set used by global watchdog Transparency International.

Approximately 50% of those individuals interviewed were learners at schools and FET colleges and 31% were family members of learners. Most of the learners were from public schools with an equal balance of male and female respondents.

The main objective of the questions asked were to ascertain the perceptions of the level and types of corruption in schools, who were the perpetrators of school corruption, as well how they reported school corruption via existing channels.

 

Corruption at school is here to stay

The survey revealed that 53% of those interviewed believe that corruption in schools is getting worse and less that half of the respondents who are aware of corruption will report it. Only 42% reported incidents of corruption. Free State has the most non-reporters with 70%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (67%) and the Western Cape (64%).

The survey also revealed that there is an equal amount of corruption in both private and public school in South Africa. The vast majority of respondents are extremely concerned about corruption and view it as a major problem.

 

South Africa School Corruption

Apart from the 53% who viewed corruption as a growing problem, only 17% felt that was getting better, 13% believe that it was the same, and 18% did not know. The vast majority of respondents believe that Mpumalanga has the highest levels of corruption followed by Eastern Cape and North West.

Individuals who reported incidents of corruption did so to school principals or parents, or to a member of a school governing board (SGB), to an official anti-corruption institution such as the presidential hotline or the Education Department.

More people reported corruption to Corruption Watch rather than the presidential hotline. Those aged between 15-17 were more likely to report to Corruption Watch while 13-14 year olds were more likely to report incidents to their parents or teachers.

 

True victims of corruptions are learners

The most common form corruption was the misuse and misappropriation of school funds or school property followed by learners being ordered to do favors for improved grades. Nepotism in the appointments of staff and procurements practices is also a problem as well as the sale of exam papers. The most common form of around exam times were favors for better grades and the selling of exam papers.

Mpumalanga had the biggest problem when it came selling of exam papers, while misappropriation of school funds was more prevalent in Free State and North West provinces.

The vast majority of respondents believe that the mail culprits of corruption are school principals followed by teachers and then members of school governing boards. The Eastern Cape had the highest number of corrupt principals (61%). The Free State had the most corrupt teachers (41%). And Northern Cape had the most corrupt school governing bodies (33%).

Female learners claim that teachers are more responsible for corruption, while mailed believe that principals are more corrupt. Overall, the vast majority of respondents believe that principals are to blame for the misuse of school funds and property. Almost half believe that principals are responsible for nepotism in schools.

When it came to doing favors for better grades, the majority of respondents believe that teachers are to blame and almost half believe that teachers sells exam papers to learners.

 

How to combat corruption in our schools

Even though the vast majority of learners do not report incidents of corruption, they did however identify ways in which corruption may be combatted. The best way to combat corruption in schools was with regular anti-corruption meetings and anti-corruption groups. Social media was the second best suggestion to fight corruption via Mxit, Facebook and Twitter

 

How to report corruption

To allow for easy reporting of corruption in schools, Corruption Watch is piloting a 24-hour toll-free line. Members of the public who wish to report corruption in schools can call 0800 023 456.

Source: Corruption Watch

Corruption Watch – another step towards fighting corruption

Combating corruption acquired some serious artillery with the roll-out of Corruption Watch, an independent civil society institute established make it possible for South Africans to report and confront corrupt activity in both the public and private sectors.

The unveiling, held at the Women’s Gaol museum at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, was attended by a number of government, civil society and business leaders, most notably Jay Naidoo, Mark Haywood, Mary Metcalfe, Njongonkulu Ndungane and public protector Thuli Madonsela, in addition to a significant contingent of news media.

Corruption Watch’s function consists of a newly launched website along with a SMS hotline to obtain reports of corruption, along with a pledge which individuals can sign online to indicate their rejection of corruption.

 

 

The internet site is going to be a library of stories coming from the South African public, a safe and secure portal for evidence-based whistle blowing activity, in addition to a resource for information regarding corrupt activities throughout South Africa.

As part of his keynote speech, Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi praised Corruption Watch as being a “critical resolution of Cosatu and civil society” as well as a “dream come true to empower our people”.

We will never be successful in our mission to overcome this fast advancing enemy except in cases where we can effectively mobilise and empower ordinary people, strengthen and build a people-centred developmental state, brought about by honest men and women, and construct independent state institutions that fight against corruption on a daily basis and transform the judiciary and media, he was quoted saying.

The general public can inform Corruption Watch about their experiences and sign the pledge online.

To SMS, send the text “BRIBE” to report corruption or, to sign the pledge, type “PLEDGE” including your first and last names to the number 45142 (the SMS costs R1).

Individuals are also able to discuss it on Facebook and Twitter (@corruption_sa).

Eliminate abuse of power and position

Corruption Watch director David Lewis stated that by gathering, interpreting and acting on information compiled from the public, the media and other sources, the organisation would eventually be in a position uncover the corrupt misuse of public money.

“We have established this organisation make it possible for citizens to report and confront public and private sector individuals abusing their power and position.”

The information gathered by the organisation is going to be utilized to reveal hotspots of corrupt activity throughout the country at municipal, provincial and national level. Where corruption is rife, Corruption Watch is going to seek out partnerships with powerful organs of civil society to effect change.

“We would like to guide the national conversation with regards to corruption from resignation to action,” said Lewis.

The website would be the principal interface between the public and Corruption Watch, however the organisation could also be contacted via SMS, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi

By way of social media, individuals can easily talk about their stories pertaining to all types of corruption, including but not exclusive to bribery, kickbacks and graft; have an impact on peddling and patronage; along with corruption in the work place where they’ve observed or happen to be victims of favouritism, nepotism, ghost workers and illegitimate absenteeism. Individuals will be able to complain of cases of bid-rigging, price-fixing, arbitrage and profiteering, cartels and collusion and tender and procurement irregularities.

The private information of anyone reporting an incident is going to be kept confidential, however the information collected is going to be aggregated, making it possible for Corruption Watch to analyse the data, identify patterns and draw a “heat map” of when and where corruption is going on.

“Information from crowd-sourcing provides a clear understanding of what is occurring on the ground,” said Lewis. “While we {will not|probably won’t|probably will not} be in a position to investigate every single report, the consolidated knowledge of people coming to our site will furnish us with a powerful tool to develop alliances with other institutions and NGOs. Strengthening the scale and voice of civil society will assist South Africans to defeat corruption.”

As a result of some of the aggregated information – and from time to time a personal story signifying an endemic form of corruption – Corruption Watch will initiate research, commission reports and compile a sufficient amount of documentation to refer matters to the appropriate investigative or prosecutorial authority, as well as engage in policy-based advocacy work.

“Our first campaign,” said Lewis, “is requesting individuals to sign a pledge online, or via SMS, refusing to get involved in corruption and, in the event that they are civil servants, committing to treating public resources with respect.”

‘Nowhere to hide’

Justice minister Jeff Radebe likewise took to the podium, decrying corruption as a “cancer” in South African society.

“This cancer of corruption can only be defeated by the concerted initiatives of all South Africans … meaning that the roll-out of Corruption Watch is highly commended,” he stated.

 

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi

The minister added the fact that the organisation would certainly assist to transform many South Africans from being passive recipients within a democracy into “important role-players who actively combat corruption”.

“We would at the same time like the media to continue in its determined efforts to expose corruption whenever it rears its ugly head.”

He added: “We are positive that Corruption Watch is going to be an independent unbiased voice and barometer displaying the strides we as a nation are making to fight corruption. Everyone must fully understand that there is nowhere to hide as far as corruption is concerned.”

United front against corruption

Public protector Thuli Madonsela pointed out that the initiative “couldn’t have come at a better time” and that the Public Protector team was honoured to be part of it.

“Many sectors of society can learn a good deal from this development. As a nation we require a united front against corruption and central to this is active citizenship.”

Accountability and transparency are, in addition central to the organisation, she added.

“I’m encouraged by Corruption Watch’s understanding that corruption is a societal problem – it’s not an isolated problem.”

Corruption is additionally rife in the regulatory environment, service delivery, along with the public and private sector, she pointed out.

 

 

“It is time that all of us as patriotic South Africans stand together to fight corruption with courage and resilience. We look forward to working with Corruption Watch in taking the process forward when it comes to awareness-raising, protecting and encouraging whistle-blowing and promoting transparency in the government’s legal framework.”

Madonsela called on all sectors of society to throw their weight behind the initiative, adding that actively fighting corruption is needed to alleviate poverty, boost service delivery, and promote safety and justice.

“Each of us carries a responsibility to fight corruption in the public and private sector to make certain that we establish a society where there is public accountability, integrity and responsiveness to all the people of the country.”

Taking action

Financed primarily by donations from charitable foundations, Corruption Watch has been established as a non-profit organisation by Cosatu’s office bearers, who have been receiving progressively more complaints with regards to corruption from its membership along with the general public.

Its board of directors is comprised of Bobby Godsell, Adila Hassim, David Lewis, Mary Metcalfe, Mavuso Msimang, Njongonkulu Ndungane, Kate O’Regan, Zwelinzima Vavi, with Vuyiseka Dubula in the chair.

 

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com

Manuel urges partnership to deal with education system

National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel suggests that a combined strategy in government will undoubtedly be necessary to tackle the inefficiencies in the country’s education system along with other issues brought up in the diagnostic report of South Africa unveiled by the National Planning Commission last month.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the NPC comprising 26 commissioners to advise government concerning critical development challenges confronting South Africa. Commissioners were additionally given the job of creating a 2030 vision and development plan for the country which is to be monitored over time.

 

The document, drafted following a year of rigorous work by the NPC revealed nine key issues facing the nation specifically, poor education, divided communities, uneven public service performance, an unsustainable resource-intensive economy, a high disease burden, unemployment, existing spatial patterns, crumbling infrastructure and corruption.

A number of sectors of society have received the document with mixed emotions, with the ruling ANC stating it was in “full agreement” with the wide-ranging comments mentioned in the body of the report to the effect that the country has accomplished a great deal since the start of democracy in 1994 however a whole lot more remains to be done.

Manuel mentioned that ever since the release of the commission, they had been bombarded with feedback from the public.

“All of us are certainly encouraged by the advices we are receiving. Naturally the reactions are wide and varied for the reason that some individuals are reacting according to the South Africa we see now, whereas we are going to have a different South Africa by 2030, consequently dialogue is different from individual to individual, based upon how you see South Africa,” Manuel said.

 

National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel

 

The NPC is scheduled to release its first planning report which will be delivered to Cabinet in November.

While Manuel admitted that there were probably going to be fiscal difficulties for the country to deal with a number of the issues raised on the diagnostic document, he explained it was subsequently left to government to figure out how resources were designated to meet society’s pressing demands.

A member of the public had previously questioned whether or not funding patterns for the three spheres of government were sufficient for the country to take care of the majority of the challenges brought up in the diagnostic report.

“Of course there will probably be fiscal challenges down the road, however resources need to be allocated in a way such that the countries sees fit and it is up to the Treasury to make those choices definitely not us as the commission.

“We will put the plan forward on 11 November and will also take care of every one of these issues – several in greater detail than the others, however the tools that we utilized are the tools that all South Africans will make use of to deal with these challenges,” added Manuel.

He proceeded to state the fact that the diagnostic report was not a “prescription” for the government, but geared towards enabling correct planning for the country in the next upcoming decades.

“The diagnostic report addresses varying findings with regards to the South Africa that we know now, that we can speak from research and in conjunction with where we would like to be and say to South Africans, ‘discuss these problems and inform us whether this is the country you would like to live in 2050’.”

Free State Premier Ace Magashule talked about how the province had been working hard to make sure that popular participation of its citizens in the report, adding that there had been an agreement at provincial government relating to the problems raised.

“It is quite apparent that the people of the province who are engaging in the NPC discussions are incredibly enthusiastic in terms of ensuring that indeed, we have one plan as a country and I believe this is definitely the starting point of that process and additionally our call and plea is going to be for every individual to participate,” he was quoted saying.

Source: BuaNews

Eskom and Special Investigating Unit collaborate to battle corruption

Power parastatal Eskom has recently partnered with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to battle corruption.

“All of us are making it a strategic imperative that Eskom needs to be a high-performance enterprise. Our collaboration together with the SIU will allow us to to accomplish this, and moreover will guarantee that Eskom is ethical, well governed and possesses suitable fraud detection and prevention measures in place,” Eskom’s CEO Brian Dames explained.

Through the partnership between Eskom together with the SIU – which happens to be formulated by statute – Dames pointed out that each and every loophole that is uncovered is going to be shut down and this includes criminal prosecution in cases where it is warranted. The alliance will run over time span of no less than three years.

Eskom CEO Brian Dames

Eskom stated the partnership was in fact in line with its responsibility to government’s anti corruption initiatives.

Leader of the SIU Willie Hofmeyr stated the parastatal seems to have exhibited it’s determination to do something about corruption and maladministration situations. “This sort of ground breaking collaboration to develop capacity to combat corruption is critical if we are planning to do something about corruption effectively and efficiently,” he was quoted saying.

The terms of the contract are now being finalised between the two based on which the SIU is going to set up a team of specialist investigators to undertake a systematic investigation of all Eskom’s divisions.

Willie Hofmeyr

A primary emphasis of the investigation will most likely be probity assessments on Eskom’s procurement agreements. The utility invests R90 billion annually on purchasing goods and services, and this includes its capital investment programme.

The investigation will look to uncover and expose any kind of corrupt practices and also conflicts of interest. Dames claimed this certainly will reinforce and improve the company’s internal audit function. “All of us expect it will eventually play a role in the reputation we are developing for honesty, efficiency and transparency,” said Dames.

“A suitable application for a proclamation by the President happens to be in progress and, once gazetted, will confer special investigative powers on the SIU engagement,” said Eskom.

Source: BuaNews

South Africa shines in Global Budget Survey

The International Budget Partnership has just released the Open Budget Survey 2010, the only independent, comparative, regular measure of budget transparency and accountability around the world.

Produced every two years by independent experts not beholden to national governments, the report reveals that 74 of the 94 countries assessed fail to meet basic standards of transparency and accountability with national budgets. This opens the door to abuse and inappropriate and inefficient use of public money.

“The internationally recognised index this year analysed 94 countries worldwide and South Africa came out on top, squeezing Britain out of top place into third place, and placing New Zealand second,” it said in a statement.

South Africa came out with a score of 92 out of 100.

International Budget Partnership Open Budget Survey 2010

“The worst performers include China, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and newly-democratic Iraq, which provide little to no information to their citizens,” the partnership said.

The good news is that all governments — no matter their income levels or political systems or dependence on aid — can improve transparency and accountability quickly and with very little additional cost or effort by publishing online all of the budget information they already produce and by inviting public participation in the budget process.

* Find out which 40 countries provide such minimal information to the public that the country’s governments are able to hide unpopular, wasteful, and corrupt spending.

* Learn how governments can improve transparency and accountability quickly and easily by publishing online all of the budget information they already produce and by inviting public participation in the budget process.

* Find out which countries showed improvements in their average  performance over three consecutive Open Budget Surveys.

Read Full Report

Source: www.internationalbudget.org