What is the economic impact of corruption? Experts explore the cost of corruption during the annual breakfast seminar hosted by Imsimbi Training.
Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) chairperson Wayne Duvenage has said the organisation would oppose the proposed tax increases that Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene had indicated are on the cards for 2016. “Not on our watch. Until government tackles the squandering, maladministration and mismanagement of taxes South African citizens are currently paying, which economists say add up to R100-billion a year, government is not in a position to increase taxes,” he stated.
Duvenage stated, “It’s not difficult to imagine what a different place South Africa could be, if public service leadership was productive and acted on the people’s call for transparency, good service delivery, reduced maladministration and the eradication of corrupt business practices. The challenge however, is to make it happen and every opportunity that presents itself in this regard, should be seized.” He stated, corruption always affects the poorest of the poor. If SA could tackle this problem with urgency there would be more than enough funding available for free tertiary education, housing and health services.
Duvenage was speaking at the annual breakfast seminar, hosted by Imsimbi Training, on the cost of corruption in South Africa. He stated, “I ask this question because there is clear evidence of gross maladministration, corruption and abuse of our taxes, throughout all levels of Government in South Africa. And in the absence of meaningful action to reverse our bloated government’s seeming reluctance or inability to significantly reduce the maladministration, the squander and plundering of an estimated R100 billion per annum of our tax resources, I ask what right does minister Nene have to ask its citizens to pay more in taxes? To Mr Nene we must say, “Not on our watch should you be allowed to increase our taxes in 2016.”
He pointed out that only one out of five people paid e-tolls and stated that unjust laws had to be defied by South African civilians. “South African civilians are being civilly disobedient by not paying e-tolls for the right reasons. It sends government back to the drawing board and ensures that things are being researched and implemented properly.” Duvenage pointed out that, when Outa initially started engaging with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) about e-tolls, it found a fundamentally flawed introduction of a tax that would never work. “We are not against e-tolling; we know it works in other countries. We are also not against paying for infrastructure, but the way government went about the implementation of the e-toll system was wrong and has alienated society,” he said. He noted that the cost of collecting e-tolls was over R1-billion a year, adding that this cost did not make sense when Sanral was trying to raise is R2-billion a year in revenue.
He added that Sanral wanted road users to pay 30% of administration fees a year, when the global average was less than 10%. “We found out that the road construction costs were not the original R10.8-billion, but rather R18-billion. We will stand our ground to the extent that if we have to go to court, we will, and if we have to go to jail, we will. We want our public servants to be empathetic to people’s needs,” he said.
Lucky Menoe of Corruption Watch stated that 53% of corruption reported to the body was due to irregularities in procurement processes and 18% due to direct bribes. Over 12,000 incidents of corruption had been reported to Corruption Watch over the last few years.
He asked all participants at the breakfast seminar to join the #”My hands are clean” campaign. He asked all citizens who have an interest in addressing the scourge of corruption in SA to take a personal pledge that “My hands are clean”. One can do this on twitter, facebook or what’s up by sharing this with all your friends and asking them to join the campaign. My Hands Are Clean (hashtag #MyHandsAreClean or #MHAC)
Duduzile Nchoba of the Department of Arts and Culture, said all public officials need to support the campaign – “My Hands are Clean”. She said that corruption entailed two willing parties Business and Government. And all people in South Africa should join the campaign to rid our society of this scourge.
Peter Sadie, director of Imsimbi Training spoke about the critical importance of ethics in leadership training in SA. He raised that corruption always hits the poorest of the poor.
Menoe asked all South Africans to report any corruption that they are aware of to Corruption Watch: 0800 023 456, or on www.corruptionwatch.org.za, this can be reported anonymously.