Black Sash Media Statement – ‘Sash calls for independent anti-corruption agency’
For immediate release: Tuesday, 6th December 2011
The Black Sash is calling on government to set up a independent anti-corruption agency in an effort to deal more decisively with the scourge that it says has become endemic in our society. Speaking ahead of the 4th National Anti-Corruption Forum Summit which opens on Thursday (8th December 2011), the veteran human rights organisation says corruption is threatening to reverse many of the gains already made by government to promote the socio-economic rights of our most vulnerable citizens.
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager Nkosikhulule Nyembezi says corruption is seriously depleting state resources that should be going to those in need. “Not only do we need an independent body dedicated to rooting out corruption but we also need to strengthen the enforcement of our anti-competition laws and regulations, particularly around the awarding of State tenders to private companies. Other issues that need to be addressed are party political funding and the legislation on whistle-blowing. More effective mechanisms also need to be put in place to monitor any potential conflict of interest when it comes to public officer bearers. We welcome the fact that it is now civil society’s turn to chair the forum for the next two years,” says Nyembezi.
The National Anti-Corruption Forum was established ten years ago, bringing together civil society, business and government to combat and prevent corruption, build integrity and raise awareness. However, Nyembezi, who has been asked to present a paper at the summit on the role of civil society in the fight against corruption, says there appears to be a lack of political will to deal decisively with the problem. “The passing of the Protection of State Information Bill by the National Assembly a few weeks ago is an enormous setback in our battle against corruption. Likewise, government’s failure to implement the Competition Amendment Act, allowing for the criminal prosecution of company directors and managers found guilty of price-fixing, frustrates our efforts to conquer corruption. We need effective deterrents and sanctions that send out an unequivocal message to those who are undermining our society’s attempts to realise the Constitutional rights of all our people,” says Nyembezi.
The Black Sash says it is however encouraged by the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows the organisation and its co-litigants to appeal a decision denying them the opportunity to represent bread consumers in a class action against producers found guilty of cartel activity.
Read Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager Nkosikhulule Nyembezi's paper entitled 'Entrenching the role of civil society in the fight against corruption: A case of lack of political will to implement the Competition Amendment Act 1 of 2009'For Interview requests, please contact:Nkosikhulule Nyembezi
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 082 429 4719