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By Wendy Jasson da Costa
South Africa's commitment to fighting corruption has been called into question after a detailed international study found that it had failed to fully implement international anti-corruption conventions.
Eight other African countries - Algeria, Burundi, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Uganda - have also been fingered in a study by the global civil society movement, Transparency International (TI).
The report indicated that all these countries had legal gaps regarding the regulations of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and Related Offences.
However, when contacted for comment, the spokesperson for the department of public service and administration, Lewis Rabkin, on Thursday said they would do so only once they had obtained a copy of the report and studied its findings.
Transparency International said it had been monitoring the implementation by the various countries since the African Union convention came into effect in August last year.
The studies released in Berlin, analysed anti-corruption measures and highlighted the main shortcomings of the reform process.
TI said a common feature in most countries was the absence of comprehensive national strategies to combat corruption, and a lack of real political will to implement reforms.
The vice-chairperson of TI's board, Akere Muna, on Thursday said implementation should now become a priority and that his organisation would continue to exert pressure until it was.
"The AU convention provides a very useful template to guide such a process. In concert with civil society, TI will continue to lobby governments and legislators on how best to cope with the obvious challenges posed by this process," said Muna.
Governments were required to report back on progress by completing a questionnaire for the next UN Conference of States in February next year.
However, TI also encouraged civil society organisations to use the findings of the nine country studies to complete the same questionnaire.
Only 16 of 53 African countries have already ratified the AU convention. TI said the record for UNCAC was slightly better, with 29 ratifications.