Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane on Wednesday welcomed calls for the establishment of an independent body to probe corruption.

“Government has prioritised the fight against corruption as one of the five priorities,” Chabane said in a statement.

“Government further remains committed to fight corruption and continues to have confidence in institutions of state charged with the responsibility to fight corruption.”

Chabane is chairman of the anti-corruption inter-ministerial committee.

He was reacting to a proposal by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) for the establishment of an independent agency to investigate graft.

Chabane welcomed “any initiative by any sector of our society which will help rid the country of the scourge of corruption”. It however had to remain within the framework of the country's laws.

The government called on all South Africans with information that would aid the fight against corruption to report it to the relevant institutions.

Casac chairman Sipho Pityana on Wednesday said South Africa was on the “verge” of joining the ranks of dysfunctional states, as the effects of corruption debilitated all spheres of life.

“In the changing circumstances of our times, a conservative assault on the Constitution from some of the most powerful in our society threatens to fatally undermine our capacity to overcome poverty and inequality.”

Casac, he said, proposed “a dedicated, independent agency” responsible and accountable for the investigation of corrupt activities, alongside “pro-active preventive measures” such as education of the public.

Pityana said the agency would need significant political support to ensure it was well funded.

“If there is truly no political will to address corruption, no mechanism, existing or proposed, can succeed,” he said. - Sapa