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Johannesburg - Fraud is often a crime of opportunity by people who face overwhelming financial and other pressures, Eastern Cape premier Noxolo Kiviet said on Thursday.
“They are not necessarily career criminals,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery at the International Fraud Awareness workshop in East London.
“While not always within their control, individuals can find themselves in financially stressful situations due to a variety of factors that include unpaid medical bills, family responsibilities, a spouse losing a job, divorce, debts and maintaining a current lifestyle...”
In the workplace, favouritism, nepotism, conflict of interest and breach of duty were all contributing factors in fraudulent activities.
People had drifted away from honesty and selflessness in pursuit of material interests and pleasures, she said.
“The danger of this behaviour is that it is now growing at a fast pace and our young people, who are the future of this country, are emulating it.”
Young people saw the accumulation of wealth through tenders as the key to economic emancipation.
“They see their leaders following this route and flaunting their newly acquired wealth, and now aspire to do the same by hook or crook,” Kiviet said.
“The issue of fraud does not happen in heaven, no, it happens right here in front of our eyes and it is done by us, our brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers and a string of friends and other people we know.”
Kiviet said the Eastern Cape government had approved a policy that prohibited officials from trading with the state.
It was estimated that the government lost about five percent of its budget to fraud. This amounted to about R3 billion per province per year. - Sapa