Ethics Hot Topic, December 2016

By Cynthia Schoeman

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), a multilateral convention negotiated by members of the United Nations, was passed on 31 October 2003 and signed on 9 December 2003. Since then International Anti-Corruption Day has been observed annually on 9 December.

Corruption in South-Africa certainly warrants an increased focus. Our score for public sector corruption according to Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) remains in the lower, less ethical half of the scale. In the latest 2015 CPI South Africa scored 44 out of 100, where 100 represents a “very clean” public sector and 0 represent “highly corrupt”.

But the public sector is not the only culprit. It is often private sector organisations that are the second party to bribery and corruption. While corruption serves to enrich the few who are party to such illegal and unethical behavior, the negative impact of corruption is very far reaching and insidious. It erodes the fabric of society, undermines people’s trust in political and economic systems, and depletes the funds that should ensure public sector service delivery.

Surely it is time for all leaders to stand together to prevent corruption and to make a visible, committed effort to embed ethics at the core of their organisations.

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