newritings

August 15, 2008

MWALIMU (Vol 1.2. – Second Quarter 2008)

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MWALIMU
BUILD PEOPLE’S POWER IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION, LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AND UNACCOUNTABILITY

(The views expressed in the newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation)

EDITORIAL

The complexities of the struggle for transparency, ” good governance” and accountability

Recently, I have been following how state-government departments and private institutions and organisations respond to users – citizens (and even consumers) concerns and rights. These experiences are based largely on my own (more recent) activism which I hope may find resonance wider. In this not scientific study, I generally found that those organisations-institutions that (in the case of the internet) have a pre-formatted response (limited) space often do not respond to the queries genuinely, but use it as a filter to frustrate or devolve the complaint to the lowest levels of responsibility rather than to highest levels where decisions are taken. Instead of seeking a speedy resolution, they try to force one to phone or write a letter via post, which in itself is not a bad thing, but works in effect to delay and frustrate – hoping that the problem (and those who have it) will disappear with extreme exhaustion. Let me explain with help of a few examples:

I wrote complaining about the BBC’s reporting on skin lightening creams, and used the formatted response letter, even complaining to the Trust, to no avail – fixed systems of complaints substantially aim to retard rather than enhance accountability. Interestingly, seeking information from L’Oreal, recently requesting information about skin lightening product contents too has proven to be a gigantic task.

Governments have not done better. Or some. The South African government is great exception in this regard. I was trying to follow up on a story first featured in Channel 4 (UK –documentary and then an article by the Guardian´s Cris McGreal), on the alleged Spanish and South African governments’ involvement in the attempted Coup in Equatorial Guinea. The allegations were seriously troubling for any African but more so for any democrat, yet very few newspapers or media houses chose to do a follow ups on it. We tried, and after not getting a reply first from the RSA government, emailed to all and sundry without a reply until finally writing directly (via email) from a publicly available email address to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma. Within 10 minutes we got a reply from the director of communications of her department refuting involvement and calling for prosecution of those involved.

The Spanish government, on the other hand, is opaque in comparison. I was forced to write in the formatted response forms to president J. L. R. Zapatero (as head of the PSOE party) and to date have had no reply. Just to get an email address to a relevant minister is a project in itself!

The final example relates to the recent National Anti-Corruption Summit (third since inception, held on 4 and 5 August 2008 ) which I did not attend, and write from a distance. I think the National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF), and the Summit is worthy of celebration in the manner in which it seeks to tackle corruption as a collective effort, realizing that the obligations on capital, the state, and civil society are different. However, on reading the keynote address by Minister Geraldine Fraser Moleketi, theoretically excellent, was significant on what it did not say rather than what it did say. The earlier postponed conference was to have been presented by the president Thabo Mbeki, who during all this time is a significant actor in some ongoing cases such as the arms deal (allegations) and the dismissal of head of the prosecutions authority Vusi Pikoli. The Ministers´ speech did not touch on one known (reported) case of corruption currently ongoing in South Africa: arms deal, Jacob Zuma, Jackie Selebi, Vusi Pikoli, etc. as these all have vibrate within the dominant political party – the African National Congress. The premature death of the Scorpions (directorate of special operations) in South Africa could not be publicly lamented.

It was left to the newspapers to raise the voice of citizens. The Times hard hitting editorial, Leaderless under the reign of the tsotsis, which we quote at length for its relevance, argued that:

…a relentless succession of depressing news reports demonstrates almost daily that the morals of criminality are becoming the dominant standard of our society.

From the urban worker who makes out a false police report to justify a fraudulent insurance claim on a mislaid cellphone, to the civil servant passing government business to a relative, South Africans are excusing themselves from the constraints of the law and natural justice.

As Nelson Mandela says his public goodbye in London’s Hyde Park, we are left apparently leaderless.

In place of moral icons, we have only a brawling mass of petty politicians more interested in their own pockets than the people. No one seems willing to take a stand, to denounce a friend or neighbour or even just to say, “No thanks” to an unlawful opportunity.

For this newspaper the rot or resolution starts “at the top, where President Thabo Mbeki and ANC president Jacob Zuma have not matched their rhetoric with personal examples of moral principle.

Mbeki’s defense this week of a new contract for suspended police commissioner Jackie Selebi served to confirm that anything goes, unless and until a judge pronounces a perpetrator guilty beyond the last appeal.

And when a judge seems likely to make an inconvenient decision, there is always the option of public pressure.

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema retains his post after threatening to kill fellow South Africans to protect Zuma from the due process of law. Labour leader Zwelinzima Vavi has yet to be repudiated by his allies for taking up that call in blatant violation of our law and constitution.

The first signs of fundamental moral decay included the sorry saga of parliament dodging its obligation to find, prosecute and punish MPs who abused their travel privileges. Then we had unions protecting teachers who did not bother to turn up for classes, and security guards willing to kill colleagues who refused to back their violent strike action.

We have ended up with a teacher who has been charged with selling drugs to his own pupils in his classroom, and policemen joining a gang that blows up automatic teller machines for the cash inside them.

And our leaders, apparently mindful of the skeletons in their own closets, prevaricate, excuse and seek to explain the inexplicable, leaving a moral vacuum that sucks in the young, the poor and, mostly, those who are just infinitely greedy.

There can be no substitute for leadership from the top, from the presidency, the cabinet and the courts.

But, with the always morally ambivalent Zuma looking likely to be our next president – and then with a sackful of political debts to settle – there is no prospect of a new national role model in our medium-term future.

Nor can we hope for a late recovery from Mbeki and his tacky team, who continue to lie and obfuscate in order to shore up a crumbling legacy, even at the cost of our own criminal justice system or the rights to life and, quite literally, limb in Zimbabwe.

It ends with the cry that ”We must reject the reign of the tsotsis.”

So to conclude, formal response structures (whether via the web or real life) like the old suggestion box that use to be popular in the past, do not in themselves facilitate an effective response from authorities, and activists may have to look at other avenues and strategies to get genuine redress. This may include protests, strikes, consumer boycotts and such dramatic action. When engaging in the fight for genuine accountability we must always bear in mind that it is a struggle of power (the powerful) against the people, whose power is yet to be realized. When vested interests are threatened, rules will be bent, turned, twisted… whatever, to evade the truth from seeing the light. Take the case of the British government, which in December 2006, decided to drop its investigation into alleged corruption around the £43bn Al-Yamamah fighter export deal with Saudi Arabia. The grounds it relied on? National security and will not risk its relationship (economic as well) with the Saudi government.

In the face of such duplicity and power play we have to remain principled and struggle for genuine accountability and governance which means that in:

– corporations: their policies and practices must be open to scrutiny and public sanction, especially as they impact on the environment, worker rights and health of consumers and society at large. Do they pay taxes? Or do they evade or avoid paying by putting these in tax havens?;
– government capacity: the government –state must have the right and capacity to deliver on its social, economic and political mandate, without being hamstrung by corporate or other elite interests and needs; and
-civil society organisations: trade unions, citizens groups, consumer organisations, etc. are key to ensuring effected accountability and governance towards effective and efficient use of the environmental resources for those in need, now and for the future generations. Yet, it must be borne in mind that many NGOs in the NORTH usually take up the positions of their governments whilst they criticise governments of the SOUTH for things they do not do at home!

All the policies – value statements must be followed by effective and empowering mechanisms that will enhance people’s organisational and personal power to make real decisions, to challenge leaders (corporate and political), and elect and recall leadership (in politics and corporations) by rules that are not manipulated by elite and powerful interest groups. This responsiveness to citizens -the people-, if reliant on those at the top, is likely to be a charitable act. Genuine leaders will locate this power in mass organizations at the bottom. The new tools of communication at our disposal may be a friend or an enemy and we are advised to be vigilant. Anyhow they are not a substitute for a real face to face encounter with the power holders, but in the now globalised world with global power reaching far and wide exploiting all within its long reach… tools of communications that empower, truly educate, could be a friend.

Hassen Lorgat (coordinator and contributor)

Go to Contents of Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. – Second Quarter 2008)

Contents

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. - Second Quarter 2008) — newritings @ 8:00 pm

· Editorial: The complexities of the struggle for transparency, ” good governance” and accountability

· Learning from each other:
The wisdom of Mwalimu
The interview: Azeddine Akesbi (TI – Morocco)

· The South African Update

· NACF – National Anti Corruption Summit, August 08 (brief outline)

and Resolutions of the third National Anti-Corruption Summit

· The “NGO Working Group on Currency Transaction Tax for Financing for Development”

· Does Greater Fiscal Transparency Reduce Corruption?

· A Glittering Demon: Mining, Poverty and Politics in the Democratic Republic of Congo

· The UN Global Compact Blacklists 630 Companies for Failue to Communicate on Governance

· Transparency in Sports is crucial

· 13th International Anti Corruption Conference (IACC), Athens, Greece, 30 Oct. – 2 Nov. 2008

· Resources

Learning from each other – The wisdom of Mwalimu

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The Heart of Africa. Interview with Julius Nyerere on Anti-Colonialism by Ikaweba Bunting, New Internationalist Magazine, issue 309, January-February 1999. (read the full here)

IB: Does the Arusha Declaration still stand up today?

MJN: I still travel around with it. I read it over and over to see what I would change. Maybe I would improve on the Kiswahili that was used but the Declaration is still valid: I would not change a thing. Tanzania had been independent for a short time before we began to see a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots in our country. A privileged group was emerging from the political leaders and bureaucrats who had been poor under colonial rule but were now beginning to use their positions in the Party and the Government to enrich themselves. This kind of development would alienate the leadership from the people. So we articulated a new national objective: we stressed that development is about all our people and not just a small and privileged minority.

The Arusha Declaration was what made Tanzania distinctly Tanzania. We stated what we stood for, we laid down a code of conduct for our leaders and we made an effort to achieve our goals. This was obvious to all, even if we made mistakes – and when one tries anything new and uncharted there are bound to be mistakes.

The Arusha Declaration and our democratic single-party system, together with our national language, Kiswahili, and a highly politicized and disciplined national army, transformed more than 126 different tribes into a cohesive and stable nation.

However, despite this achievement, they say we failed in Tanzania, that we floundered. But did we? We must say no. We can’t deny everything we accomplished. There are some of my friends who we did not allow to get rich; now they are getting rich and they say “See, we are getting rich now, so you were wrong”. But what kind of answer is that?

The floundering of socialism has been global. This is what needs an explanation, not just the Tanzanian part of it. George Bernard Shaw, who was an atheist, said, `You cannot say Christianity has failed because it has never been tried.’ It is the same with socialism: you cannot say it has failed because it has never been tried.

IB: Why did your attempt to find a new way founder on the rocks?

MJN: I was in Washington last year. At the World Bank the first question they asked me was “how did you fail?” I responded that we took over a country with 85 per cent of its adult population illiterate. The British ruled us for 43 years. When they left, there were 2 trained engineers and 12 doctors. This is the country we inherited.

When I stepped down there was 91-per-cent literacy and nearly every child was in school. We trained thousands of engineers and doctors and teachers.

In 1988 Tanzania’s per-capita income was $280. Now, in 1998, it is $140. So I asked the World Bank people what went wrong. Because for the last ten years Tanzania has been signing on the dotted line and doing everything the IMF and the World Bank wanted. Enrolment in school has plummeted to 63 per cent and conditions in health and other social services have deteriorated. I asked them again: “what went wrong?” These people just sat there looking at me. Then they asked what could they do? I told them have some humility. Humility – they are so arrogant!

Learning from each other – The inteview: Azeddine Akesbi (TI – Morocco)

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Hassen Lorgat posed these questions to Azeddine Akesbi, general secretary of Transparency Morocco, during July 2008

Hassen Lorgat: Tell us a bit about your chapter, how it is organised, etc?

Azeddine Akesbi: Transparency Morocco (TM) was constituted in 1996. The initiative was taken by a group of militants most of them with human right background. The new association faced difficulties and hostility in some quarters in particular the government who, for instance, would not give us permission to hold public meetings. These difficulties were eventually overcome through the support of the national anti corruption network, which is the backbone of TM, and as a result we organised our first public demonstrations and meetings.

Today, we still have some fundamental differences with the government but they had to grant us some sort of “recognition” in 2004. However, we always remain very vigilant, jealous if you like, of our independence or autonomy.

Hassen Lorgat: How do you sustain a movement with little resources?

Azeddine Akesbi: As I said, we are an autonomous organisation so the questions of funds is very important for organisations like ours. We do not receive public funding and rely on the contribution of our members, to do most of the work-activities, so membership is pre-eminent. Through our own efforts, etc. we have managed to employ two permanent staff.

Since 2000, we developed a new project which allowed us to employ additional staff for the project, but the staff are equally reliant on dedicated well qualified members who work on the projects and campaigns without pay. They are activists, and are responsible for the conception, the contact-relationship with partners and donors, and also implementation and follow up activities.

All our projects have to be validated, approved as you may say, by the board (the national council) and the executive committee who must ensure that it conforms with Transparency Morocco’s policy and strategies.

Hassen Lorgat: How does TM see the links between corruption and development, and the broader struggle for justice?

Azeddine Akesbi: For me and I think also for most members of TM, there is a strong link between corruption, human rights and development. To some extent the development of corruption – at a large scale – is a negation of citizen’s rights. When a person has to pay a bribe to get public services (health, police, justice…), his or her fundamental rights are being compromised, if not undermined.

The struggle for justice is first an effective recognition of human rights, which gives powers to citizens and democratic institutions. It also means a big NO to impunity; no large discretionary powers are acceptable.

It is also means that officials and persons in charge should be accountable for their acts and policies. The link between development, justice and corruption is obvious.

Often in our countries poverty and underdevelopment are mainly the consequences of the political system that ignores human rights, the control and democratic institutions in general. The corruption is used as a component of political regulation and it is in the hands of the elite. With such control over the state apparatus by a few, without adequate democratic checks and balances (accountability I spoke of), it is not surprising that large amounts of public funds disappear, privileges are given to minorities and persons close to the political power, the cronies. Thus you can see that a lack of human rights and the control of democratic public institutions by elites, allows widespread corruption to flourish. In some cases this form of elite model is said to be development but it encourages corruption.

Hassen Lorgat: How can we contribute in a broader struggle, without losing the niche that TI has developed? so how can we emphasise corruption and development without becoming one organisation like any other… Action Aid, Oxfam, etc…? so the link is delicate, isn’t it?

Azeddine Akesbi: TI did develop a broad orientation and the basis for an anti corruption movement when it was formed. But in my view, we still are not functioning as a movement: an effective one. Some progress has been made in the last years in the direction of reinforcing a human rights orientation in the fight against corruption. But a lot has to be done yet. We lack the power and the teeth in our fight against powerful corrupted systems. It will not be done only by projects and smooth, or smart partnerships. A peoples movement can go some way towards fighting these corrupted systems.

Hassen Lorgat: What do we have to do to implement the new TI strategy? by the way what does it mean to you?

Azeddine Akesbi: At the last Annual Members Meeting held in Bali during 2007, I had the impression that the TI strategy was clearer. Let me explain, it is now clearer for me: it is about us building stronger links with human rights organisations, and adopting a much more advocacy approach and activities. We are aligned to take up a greater defense of the victims of corruption, harnessing solidarity and developing chapters, whilst respecting their autonomy, their traditions, capacities, etc.

So, some positive signs are there, and were given, but still this strategy is not yet visible and has to be materialised on the ground yet. We must however, do much more on advocacy, our presence in the field (sur le terrain) and working and supporting the victims of corruption and here the activities of some chapters working on a legal advise centres’ approach is a good one (ALACs). Finally, there is some work to be done on building and strengthening the solidarity within the movement (chapter to chapter) and with other human rights organisations.

Hassen Lorgat: About Africa and corruption. What can be done? And what about the foreign banks where the looted funds are kept?

Azeddine Akesbi: In Africa, with the corrupt developmental models and the resultant widespread corruption, we have a lot of work to do. This link added to our colonial history and bad rulers still handicaps us. The urgent task for TI – the Africa and Middle East department (AFMENA) is to start working on implementing the strategy finalized in Nairobi last year (2007). The new advocacy directorate should also develop a programme focusing on the implementation of UNCAC and specifically the follow up of asset recovery in Africa. Fighting corruption in Africa is much more risky (some loose their jobs and earnings and others are persecuted). The TI-Secretariat, and the movement as a whole, has to develop and express more solidarity and support towards those in the front line of the fight against corruption, and abuse of human rights. We have a gigantic task in defeating corrupted organisations and systems.

Hassen Lorgat: What must our relationship be towards World Bank, IMF and the WTO if any?

Azeddine Akesbi: These are different organisations. To some extend they need to be treated differently. The World Bank did develop a policy document on corruption. The main problem for the WB is to fill the existing important gap between the discourse, its policies and its practices. In our relation with this institution we should be much more demanding and tough. As for the other organisations (IMF, WTO), the issue is often not yet on the agenda.

Hassen Lorgat: What is there to watch for during this second decade of TI’s growth? cooptation? fragmentation… what will build a national grassroots movement?

Azeddine Akesbi: Those in the movement who believe in the strategic link between human rights development and the fight against corruption should defend this orientation much more – this cause is making progress within the movement – and be vigilant not to loose credibility and the contact with those who are suffering from corruption and poverty on the daily basis: the powerless.

Hassen Lorgat: Finally you want to say anything about TI and consultancies and the new position of the board… on the subject

Azeddine Akesbi: It is highly risky area for the movement. TI and the movement need studies and well-informed and qualified members to drive us as we go forward. But the expertise should be ‘au service’ of the movement and under its control. This matter has to be discussed in-depth and all the precautions taken to avoid TI becoming a private consultancy company (un bureau d’étude).

The South African Update

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. - Second Quarter 2008),opinion article — newritings @ 5:00 pm

The media has been doing a great job covering the trial and tribulations of this teenage nation. The cases we followed in the last edition continued to be covered widely in South African Media. The case of Vusi Pikoli is key for our democracy and like a soap opera its hearing covers most of the other cases (Zuma, Scorpions, etc.) currently on circuit.

At the closure of the trial, Vusi Pikoli’s lawyer Wim Trengrove argued for the lifting of the suspension of his client, the head of public prosecutions. In the state’s closing argument, it was reiterated that Pikoli had “failed” in his position as head of the prosecuting authority and must be axed. Trengove argued that the state, saying it had simply “scraped together a hodgepodge of complaints” aimed at removing him from his post. To dismiss Pikoli, he argued, would do “unforgivable injustice to a good man”. To dismiss him, will give credence to the belief that Pikoli has been fired for ignoring an executive order not to prosecute a political friend – national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi -, who is facing several charges.

For non South African readers looking for a snap shot, I recommend a fascinating piece: “The curious case of Mr Pikoli”, which is a must read by Jeremy Gordin, IOL, July 13.

In his resume, he describes the key actors and the background and current drama as it unfolds. Gordin concludes that there are implications for future generations… Take some of these snippets:

The Ginwala inquiry into whether Vusi Pikoli is fit to be the country’s national director of public prosecutions has mostly been a grave and formal affair…

Pikoli has also been clear and adamant that Mabandla was told that a warrant was going to be issued against Selebi and he has been unequivocally backed up by Nel and others.

And there has been no evidence to the contrary, because Mabandla did not give evidence.

Nel has also clearly argued that, without certain plea bargains, notably with Clinton Nassif, a drug dealer implicated in the murder of mining boss Brett Kebble, and also in a drug syndicate, the NPA would have been unable to formulate successfully a number of charges, including those against Glenn Agliotti, charged with the murder of Kebble, and Selebi.

In short, on the face of it, it looks difficult for the Ginwala inquiry to find Pikoli unfit to hold office. The only real plea bargain of relevance to his inquiry – the others took place before Pikoli’s time – is the Nassif one. And was the decision to unravel the Kebble and Selebi matters via a plea bargain – whatever one may think of its morality – sufficient cause to declare the NDPP unfit to hold his post?

Still, as fair and just as Ginwala might be, or want to be, the dice are loaded against Pikoli for the simple reason that the fact that the head of state suspended him and appointed an inquiry suggests that he did something wrong.

It also worrying that Ginwala has seemed to suggest, in her responses to the media, that the normal rules of evidence – in terms of which Pikoli’s version would stand because not challenged by other, direct testimony – might not apply.

But the Ginwala inquiry has not only been strange, it has also been fascinating because it has been the nexus of almost all the major court cases, legal matters and investigations that have gripped the country’s imagination. The matter of the mercenaries who tried to stage a coup in Equatorial Guinea has come up because there was a plea bargain made between the NPA and Mark Thatcher.

The Zuma matter – in which Zuma was let off the hook by Bulelani Ngcuka, the former national director of public prosecutions, then charged in 2005 after Schabir Shaik was found guilty, then had his case thrown out in 2006, then was recharged immediately after his Polokwane victory, in December – has played a major role in the proceedings because of the search and seizure raids that the NPA carried out.

These raids are in turn the subject of the pending judgments in the constitutional court and therefore at the nub of the battle between the judges of that court and Hlophe: the judges have said Hlophe tried to influence two of their number into making a Zuma-friendly judgment.

And there is the whole sorry saga of Kebble and his alleged connections with Agliotti, Nassif and Selebi, and all the messy shenanigans that have emerged from the Scorpions’ investigations into the mining magnate’s murder.

Finally, besides the strangeness and fascination of the inquiry into Pikoli, there is at its heart a mystery to which we might one day have the answer, but probably not in the near future.

Why did Mbeki go so far to protect Selebi? Was it simply loyalty to an old comrade that caused the president to suspend Pikoli? Was it the proximity in time to the Polokwane conference at which Mbeki wanted to be returned to the ANC presidency?

Or was there something else that made the president want to avoid at all costs having Selebi in court?

National Anti Corruption Summit, August 08

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The Third National Anti Corruption Summit was held on 4 and 5 August 2008. Organised under the theme “Towards an Integrated National Integrity Framework, Consolidating the Fight Against Corruption”, the once postponed conference said this to invitees:

This Summit is being hosted by the National Anti Corruption Forum and the theme of the Summit is, “Towards an Integrated National Integrity Framework, Consolidating the Fight Against Corruption”.

The Summit presents the opportunity for all parts of South African society, namely the Public, Business and Civil Society sectors, to collectively reflect on the crafting of an Integrity Framework for the country as well as the values underlying such a Framework.

It is anticipated that the President of the Republic of South Africa will deliver the Keynote Address at the opening of the Summit on 4 August 2008.

The keynote address – presented by the Minister of Public Service and Administration and Chairperson of the National Anti Corruption Forum (NACF) -, which I discussed in the Introduction, was devoid of actual, read “real corruption” in the country, but it’s still worth a look at.

In a largely theoretical –philosophical paper, it concludes with Basic Values and Principles governing public administration, as follows:

1. Public administration must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, including the following principles:

a. A high standard of professional ethics must be promoted and maintained.
b. Efficient, economic and effective use of resources must be promoted.
c. Public administration must be development-oriented.
d. Services must be provided impartially, fairly, equitably and without bias.
e. People’s needs must be responded to, and the public must be encouraged to participate in policy-making.
f. Public administration must be accountable.
g. Transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.
h. Good human-resource management and career-development practices, to maximise human potential, must be cultivated.
i. Public administration must be broadly representative of the South African people, with employment and personnel management practices based on ability, objectivity, fairness and the need to redress the imbalances of the past to achieve broad representation.

In a not so subtle dig at some political actors and interests – the closest to real political criticism and real politics -, the Minister made the following statement:

“As a country we need to guard against the corruption of our values and we must exercise vigilance over self proclaimed guardians who corrupt our democratic ethos by labelling those they disagree with as sexist, racist and engaging in practices of nepotism. Corruption does not only take the form of the cash nexus it takes the form corruption of values.”

As if her allegiances are not known publicly, this comment sat alongside a favourable quote of the then deputy president Mbeki speaking at the 1998 (yes -way back, editor) Anti Corruption Summit, where he lashed out at a culture of entitlement then taking root.

The resolutions (below) cover the usual scope of good practices that are sorely needed. But it, in the areas of ethical practices in social and economic life, thus making some new waves. It resolves “To support legislative and other measures to ensure that companies found guilty of offenses of price fixing, market allocation and collusive tendering are prohibited from state tenders for a determined period; and to strengthen the enforcement provisions of the Competition Act including holding individuals accountable for price fixing, market allocation and collusive tendering.” Many anti corruption NGOs could go some way towards focusing on the corporate sector, and its role in corruption and mal-governance.

In trying to craft an integrity framework it outlines the elements that are required – but, as indicated, little will be achieved outside context of power politics, of masses, parties, institutions and laws and the history of the evolution of the institutions and of the country’s socio economic developmental history. As tough as it is, we must look at corruption concretely, and deal with formation of a framework from the tough and brutal reality of actually existing corruption, practices and trends in our country, our continent and the world.

What was meek and unconvincing, if not vague, was its concluding resolution on the way forward. This is the subject of a short paper that I am concluding, suffice it to say it appears that it does not take the process of tackling corruption much further.

The Summit resolved that greater ownership by the partners is called for and that the chairpersonship must be rotated.

1. That all three sectors must fully commit and take ownership of the NACF and the chair must rotate.
2. To strengthen the NACF and undertake a review of institutional arrangements including the role of leadership, composition, expanded participation and whether or not the NACF should become a statutory body.
3. To call on universities and professional bodies to expand their participation in the NACF.
4. That the NACF promotes dialogue within the sectors.

In the founding letters and spirit of its formation, these were exactly the concerns of the activists. The current thinking about considering becoming a “statutory” body on civil society side, may have more to do with the resourcing of the activities of the forum, in particular civil society participation rather than thinking of getting more clout for the forum. We know too well the limitations of some of the Chapter 9 institutions of the Constitution such as the Commission for Gender Equality, SA Human rights Commission, etc. such as relation to government (paymaster), questions of impact, autonomy, to name but one. In the founding memorandum, the NACF envisaged:

– that there will be 10 representatives of civil society, business and government (this has been difficult to fill for various reasons);
– that the chairpersonship will be rotated: the first chairperson of the forum was advocate Dali Mpofu, current CEO of the South African Broadcasting corporation, and the current chair of the forum, Geraldine Fraser, was put in this position after the forum was revived.

The MOU read that “the Forum shall appoint a Chairperson with two deputies from the other representative sectors.” According to the memorandum, the “Minister for the Public Service and Administration will convene members of the Public Sector.”

As regards convening the Forum, all partners have had and still have the right to convene meetings of the forum, but the issues of capacity (resources to do this) could result in the undoing of the forum as the only real capacity to operate effectively in a declining funding base are the corporate sector and government. This must be addressed preferably as long term funding for the NACF, inclusive of CSO participation rather than becoming some appendage of government, i.e. changing the statutory status. Reporting to parliament on an annual basis is a sufficient accountability for the public funds that are and will be disbursed. This was envisaged. What must be fully implemented – and was resolved at the 2005 summit – is the mobilisation of resources for effective civil society participation.

———

Resolutions of the third National Anti-Corruption Summit
5 August 2008

The third National Anti-Corruption Summit, hosted by the National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) from Monday, 4 August 2008 to Tuesday, 5 August 2008 in Ekurhuleni, adopted the resolutions below:

We the delegates drawn from various sectors of South African society attending the third National Anti-Corruption Summit at Birchwood, Ekurhuleni on 4 and 5 August 2008;

Building on the outcomes of the two previous National Anti-corruption Summits;

Cognisant of the central role of strong leadership in the fight against corruption;

Affirm fundamental significance of a National Integrity System in the fight against corruption in South Africa;

Respect our Constitutional values and institutional arrangements as the basis of the South African National Integrity System;

Recognise that South Africa has acceded to the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) international legal instruments on anti-corruption;

Recognise the progress made in the first 15 years of democracy and freedom towards a comprehensive national anti-corruption programme;

Noting that corruption undermines the democratic ethos and principles of our Constitution while eroding the social contract between citizens and the state;

Reaffirm the importance of inter-sectoral collaboration in the spirit of ubuntu;

Condemn the practice of price fixing and related issues;

Recognise the centrality of education in laying the foundation for an ethical society and success in combating corruption and the critical need for society to support education;

Call for the values of the National Integrity System to permeate the structures, practices and principles of the state, business and civil society sectors; and

Recommit ourselves at an individual level and call on all others to commit themselves to the process of moral regeneration and adherence to a value system of ethical conduct.

We therefore resolve as follows:

A. Ethical practices in social and economic life

1. That the National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) establishes a task team to urgently consolidate and articulate the National Integrity System.
2. To call on political parties and parliament to expedite the regulation of transparency in party political funding and to consider a sanctions mechanism.
3. To urge political parties in all three spheres of government to disclose their business interests.
4. To continue to strengthen monitoring and accountability mechanisms with respect to all tender processes in the public sector.
5. To support the swift regulation of post public sector employment for all elected and appointed public officials and its implementation.
6. To strengthen the current system of disclosure of interests for all elected and appointed public officials.
7. To develop systems of disclosure of interests for business and civil society.
8. To support legislative and other measures to ensure that companies found guilty of offenses of price fixing, market allocation and collusive tendering are prohibited from state tenders for a determined period.
9. To strengthen the enforcement provisions of the Competition Act including holding individuals accountable for price fixing, market allocation and collusive tendering.
10. To urge the business community to investigate self-regulating mechanisms to improve ethical conduct in practice.
11. To reaffirm that ethics must be infused in all aspects of the education system including the curriculum at all levels.
12. To reaffirm that schools of Business and Public Management must provide courses on professional ethics and anti-corruption.
13. To call for the strengthening of the institutional capacity of the private sector to detect and prevent corruption.
14. To complete the implementation of continental and international anti-corruption legal instruments and promote the enforcement thereof in national law.

B. Strengthening accountability, co-ordination and oversight

1. To strengthen anti-corruption bodies and improve coordination among them.
2. That all allegations of corruption must be investigated and prosecuted without fear or favour, in accordance with past and present anti-corruption legislation.
3. To reaffirm that sectors and professional bodies must adopt sector and profession specific codes of conduct and/or ethics as well as a training and communications regimes to support their application.
4. That the private sector must mainstream anti-corruption practices and report on them in annual reports in an accessible and transparent manner.
5. To promote national anti-corruption values and interests continentally and internationally.
6. To call for improved financial accountability and transparency of civil society organisations.
7. To strengthen the powers of oversight bodies for the business sector and promote co-ordination of their activities.
8. To promote the National Anti-Corruption Hotline and support the further development of capacity to respond to reported corruption.

C. Access to services through participatory governance

1. That all state entities improve service delivery through inter alia eliminating corrupt practices, encouraging whistleblowing and complying with the National Integrity System.
2. That services are offered to all citizens equitably and fairly.
3. That the NACF supports the urgent finalisation of the review of the Protected Disclosures Act and initiates a national conversation on building a culture of whistleblowing.
4. That participatory governance must be promoted to ensure that corruption and the abuse of power are addressed at the site of service delivery.
5. To implement effective anti-corruption communication and awareness programmes at community level, within the business sector and across civil society.
6. That public officials in all spheres of government must be trained in ethics, conflict of interest principles, constitutional and administrative law and the principles of Batho Pele.

D. National Anti-Corruption Forum

1. That all three sectors must fully commit and take ownership of the NACF and the chair must rotate.
2. To strengthen the NACF and undertake a review of institutional arrangements including the role of leadership, composition, expanded participation and whether or not the NACF should become a statutory body.
3. To call on universities and professional bodies to expand their participation in the NACF.
4. That the NACF promotes dialogue within the sectors.

For more information, contact:
Professor Richard Levin
Cell: 083 320 4129 (Government)

Alison Tilley
Cell: 083 258 2209 (Civil Society)

Vic Van Vuuren
Cell: 082 882 1759 (Business)

Issued by: Department of Public Service and Administration on behalf of Government, Business and Civil Society
5 August 2008

The “NGO Working Group on CTT for FfD”

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. - Second Quarter 2008) — newritings @ 3:00 pm

An “NGO Working Group on CTT for FfD” resolved to organise for a currency transaction tax to finance development. The campaign is called “the CTT for FfD Campaign” in the context of the Monterrey Consensus Review Process and it aims to get into the final text at the next Doha trade talks a firm commitment on the implementation of a currency transaction tax (CTT) “as well as details of mechanisms enabling progress to be made, as globally as possible, towards its implementation.”

The Campaign noted support for this at high levels including the Secretary-General of the UN. This renewed international interest, the campaigners believe, makes currency-transaction “development levy” of 0.005 percent possible. It proposes a minuscule tax that is not expected to materially affect market operations while having the potential to generate billions of dollars that can be allocated for development. OECD countries are already raising substantial amounts of revenue on various types of financial transactions taxes with no apparent negative impact on financial markets. The international financial system already has clearing and settlement mechanisms that can manage the collection of this levy at low cost for any one country unilaterally. The difference is that, by its nature, currency transaction taxes involve more than one country, being levied on exchanging the currency of one country for another. Thus, these are taxes that are best implemented in a cooperative manner among countries.

You are called to read more and endorse the campaign by going to www.cttforffd.net. Our thanks must go to the UBUNTU – World Forum of Civil Society Networks which took this brave initiative. There are many other useful resources on their website including a statement on the world food crisis.

Does Greater Fiscal Transparency Reduce Corruption?

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. - Second Quarter 2008) — newritings @ 2:00 pm

Ethicsworld is a weekly news resource. In its August newsletter asks the valuable question:

Does Greater Fiscal Transparency Reduce Corruption?
IMF Issues Code. International Budget Project Highlights Need for More Public Information.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently published its “Fiscal Transparency – Revised IMF Code of Good Practices.” This comprehensive code not only covers a range of detailed areas where governments should provide public budget information, but it also stresses the need for governments to pursue good practices in this area. It states that:

* There should be sufficient time for consultation about proposed laws and regulatory changes and, where feasible, broader policy changes.

* Contractual arrangements between the government and public or private entities, including resource companies and operators of government concessions, should be clear and publicly accessible.

* Government liability and asset management, including the granting of rights to use or exploit public assets, should have an explicit legal basis.

* A budget calendar should be specified and adhered to. Adequate time should be allowed for the draft budget to be considered by the legislature.

The Fund’s new code fundamentally reflects a concern that too many governments are not being as transparent in their fiscal affairs as they should be. In the actual Code, for example, the Fund found it necessary to state bluntly: “The timely publication of fiscal information should be a legal obligation of the government.”

An increasing amount of analysis of governmental budget practices is being pursued by the International Budget Project, which publishes ratings on the fiscal transparency performance of 40 countries and plans to increase coverage to 80 countries. Warren Krafchik, Director of the International Budget Project, argues that greater transparency in national budgets enhances governmental accountability and provides vital information to the public. He agrees that it is also important for the public to obtain greater budget information at the sub-national level from local public entities that directly provide services.

In its most recent study of 40 countries in late 2006 the International Budget Project analyzed the responses to a 122 multiple-choice questions. It concluded: “Accurate, timely, and comprehensive information during each stage of the budget cycle is required to ensure the accountability of government to citizens. The Open Budget Index’s results suggest that 90 percent of the countries covered do not meet this standard.”

A Glittering Demon: Mining, Poverty and Politics in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. - Second Quarter 2008) — newritings @ 1:00 pm

Article by Michael Deibert, Special to CorpWatch
June 26th, 2008

In the heart of the war-scarred Ituri region in northeastern Congo, some 200 mud-covered men pan for traces of gold in the muddy brown waters.

Working for the Congolese owners of Manyida camp, the miners are following a map of the site made by the Belgians, the country’s former colonial rulers.

“It’s very difficult, punishing work,” says Adamo Bedijo, a 32 year-old university graduate from the central city of Kisangani. “We are not paid, we work until we hit the vein of gold and hope that will pay us…The government has abandoned us, so I am forced to endure all this suffering.”

Bedijo is one of Ituri’s estimated 70,000 artisanal miners, some of whom are former employees of state mining concerns that collapsed during the country’s long-running civil war. Two years after the first democratic elections in 40 years, informal arrangements such as Manyida are operating alongside the many foreign multinationals rushing in to tap the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) extensive mineral resources.

The way foreign multinationals have gained entry into Congo, and the business methods they use, raise significant questions for a nation at historic crossroads. Will the DRC move forward to become more responsive to its nearly 67 million people scattered across an area as large as Western Europe, or will the tradition of rape-as-governance continue?

GO TO CORPWATCH FOR FULL STORY

The UN Global Compact Blacklists 630 Companies for Failure to Communicate on Governance

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.2. - Second Quarter 2008) — newritings @ 12:00 pm

The United Nations Global Compact Office has removed a total of 630 companies from its list of participants for failure to communicate progress on governance. The delisting policy was first implemented in January 2008, when 394 companies were removed from the participant list. Since then, an additional 236 companies have been delisted – bringing to 630 the total number of companies delisted since the policy was implemented. Companies that have been blacklisted are based all over the world, with almost an equal balance between the developing and industrialised countries. Many subsidiaries of well-known brands, such as L’Oreal, Hilton, Mitsubishi, and Barclays, also made the list.

Download the full list here.

The Global Compact is a voluntary initiative that seeks to advance universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption through the active engagement of the corporate community, in cooperation with civil society and representatives of organised labor, according to the UNGC website. In accordance with the Integrity Measures, introduced to the Global Compact in 2004 as a, companies are required to communicate annually to their stakeholders on progress made in implementing the ten principles of the UNGC.

The Global Compact’s policy on communicating progress asks participants to communicate annually to all stakeholders their progress in implementing the GC principles. Participants are also expected to submit a link to or description of their communication on progress to the Global Compact website and/or, Global Compact local network website. The 630 companies that have been delisted have failed to submit a communication on progress for three years in a row. The UNGC office states that the companies may seek reinstatement as an “active” participant to the Global Compact and to the list of participants on the Global Compact website if appropriate actions are undertaken.

Despite the large number of companies removed from the participant list, the overall number of participants continues to rise. During the first half of 2008, 701 new companies have joined the UN Global Compact, increasing the total number of business participants to 4619.

— Article from Ethicsworld

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