Graft on the rise in SA, survey finds

BRIBERY incidents have increased in Africa – and South Africa has been singled out as a corruption hotspot in the 2016 anti-bribery and corruption survey by ENSafrica.

The law firm stated that corruption was denting the country’s global image as an investment destination.

The Democratic Re-
public of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mo-
zambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda were also viewed as bribery hotspots.

For the survey, 132 companies were interviewed, 80 percent of them operating in South Africa.

It was designed to gauge perceptions re-
garding anti-corruption compliance commitment to observing local and global requirements, and ascertain how the processes compared to general best practice.

Director Steven Powell yesterday told The Star’s sister paper, the Pretoria News, that over the past 24 months, 39 percent of organisations had experienced bribery and corruption.

“Of this group, 18 percent experienced three or more incidents and 20 percent five or more.

“The majority of incidents were reported to have occurred in South Africa, at 79 percent,” Powell said.

He added that one of the biggest concerns arising from the survey was the increase in the number of incidents in which companies were requested to pay bribes to secure contracts and tenders.

“These are payments where you pay a government official to do the job that they are supposed to be doing. There seems to be an increase in the number of these incidents in South Africa.

“The biggest factor is that companies that have been asked to pay a bribe have jumped from 25 percent to 39 percent. Two out of every five companies have been asked to pay a bribe,” he pointed out.

Powell said one of the most worrying aspects was that despite companies having policies to reduce the number of incidents, little was done to enforce them.

“What is encouraging though is that the National Treasury is reviewing the role of the chief procurement officer to give them greater investigative powers and ability to penalise companies that bribe in order to get government contracts,” Powell said.

He lamented the high levels of corruption in all three tiers of the government.

“The survey also reflects that a lot of big bribery risks for companies occur through their business partners.

“They may appoint an agent or business partner or intermediary to negotiate on their behalf.

“And those people may bribe to help their company win contracts and tenders,” he said.