Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who led the State Capture Commission of Inquiry that has since shaped the country’s campaign to root out corruption, said he found most of the corruption in South Africa stemmed from the area of public procurement.
Speaking at the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council’s (NACAC) two-day dialogue in Johannesburg, Zondo said he believed if the independent and multidisciplinary unit, the Scorpions, were not disbanded, there would not be such high levels of corruption in the country.
“I have a sense that if the Scorpions were not disbanded, we would not have the level of corruption that we have now in our country,” he said.
Zondo was one of the key speakers at the National Anti-Corruption Dialogue, being held at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg.
This multi-sectoral conference will see government security entities such as the police and State Security Agency, civic organisations and private groups come together to develop and discuss an anti-corruption strategy.
This is in line with the State Capture Commission recommendations for the establishment of new institutions to safeguard the State against capture.
In his address, Zondo endorsed the view that ultimately every South African would have to change the culture of corruption.
“It might take a long time, but we have to,” he said.
“Each and every one of us in our daily interactions, it’s how we raise our children, it’s at schools, it’s at churches, it’s everywhere. We must make sure that every one abhors corruption, everyone says we should have no corruption in our country.”
He further reiterated his view that whistle-blowers and investigative journalists played a “critical” role in the work of the commission. He pressed upon his recommendation that whistle-blowers not only needed to be protected but also incentivised.
Zondo said while many remained critical of his recommendation, he still believed that whistle-blowers should get a percentage of the money recovered.
Zondo said the incentivisation would only apply where money was recovered based on the information disclosed by the whistle-blower.
“Some criticised my recommendation, saying that people would only come forward because they wanted the money and not because it is the right thing to do, but our levels of corruption is so bad that we in South Africa do not have the luxury to say we don't want the information because we have to pay.
“I want all the information. The critical thing is, you will not get money if your disclosure did not play a critical role in recovering the money.
“Incentivisation applies to somebody who makes a disclosure and then money is recovered, but perhaps this council can look at how do we incentivise whistle-blowers to come forward before the money is stolen,” Zondo added.