NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION SUMMITS

Report on the Proceedings of the Consultative Workshop on 20th April, 2010 in Response to a Resolution taken at its Third National Anti-Corruption Summit

INTRODUCTION

The National Anti-Corruption Forum (the 'Forum') conducted a consultative workshop on 20th April, 2010 in response to a resolution taken at its 3rd National Anti-Corruption Summit held on the 4th and 5th August 2008. The purpose of this consultative workshop was to bring together Forum members as well as other representatives from civil society, business and government sectors and as stated in the resolution, "...undertake a review of institutional arrangements (of the NACF) including the role of leadership, composition, expanded participation and whether or not the NACF should become a statutory body."

Opening and Welcome

The workshop was opened by the NACF Chairperson Ms Futhi Mtoba who stressed the importance of focusing on articulating a message and purpose that reflects a renewed commitment and determination to drive the anti-corruption agenda.

A Typological Approach to Corruption

The keynote presentation focused on providing a typological approach to corruption. The paper aimed to create a classification on the theories of corruption as to explain the prevalence, causes and effects thereof. Through the paper, it was hoped that that policy-makers and practitioners will be assisted to understand the prevalence of corruption and develop more focused and pointed prevention and combating strategies. In addition to providing a range of definitions, classifications and theoretical frameworks for understanding corruption were outlined. The paper gave particular emphasis on the Anomy Model. It argued that anomy is a necessary condition for corruption. High levels of disenchantment and cynicism within society create anomic conditions which in turn, create an environment for wide-scale corruption to take place. In short, "anomy arises where there is a value vacuum."

Panel Discussion: Revisiting the Objectives of the NACF and Review of the MoU

Each sector represented in the Forum provided its perspective and position on the objectives and MoU of the Forum. To follow are the highlights emerging from each sector's perspective as reflected in the panel discussion.

The Business Sector

The Business Sector emphasised that issues relating to the structure, funding and Secretariat model could not be discussed without first discussing the strategy of the Forum and the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. The sector maintained that it still believes that the Forum should lead the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and the development of a National Anti-Corruption Framework. The sector noted however, that the current structures of the Forum did not function optimally. It also noted that the composition of the Forum should be revisited as key individuals in society are not represented on the Forum. Similarly, the appropriateness of the location and role of the Secretariat also required a review. Another concern noted by the sector related to the current function of the Forum as it seemed to be a 'loose arrangement' that could be 'bypassed' by other key anti corruption efforts. Business also indicated that the 'strategic driver' of the Forum's work remained unclear. Clarity was needed as to whether the Forum's work emanated from Summit resolutions or the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. In concluding, the sector emphasised that the status of the Forum should be based on active participation. Also, there must be a formal and agreed strategy where all parties are committed to a single strategy on anti-corruption. There should be a formal structure with some level of authority. Finally, while government must lead the fight, it must be in cooperation with other sectors which must support its efforts.

The Public Sector

The Public Sector stressed that NACF should continue to exercise its advisory role to government. However, in order to strengthen the NACF's function, its governance arrangement and specifically, its membership, structure and the funding of its programmes needed to be addressed. In response, the public sector made several recommendations, including: expanding the membership of the NACF in order to broaden participation and in particular, include SALGA as a representative of the Public Sector; collapse the EXCO and Implementing Committee into one structure called 'EXCO;' and approaching potential donors in the short term for Forum activities and promoting self-funding by participating sectors. The sector also recommended that the Forum explore alternative funding models for long term funding. Linked to this, it asserted its commitment to seek funding from the National Treasury through the Medium Term Strategic Framework and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework in order to fund the implementation of the NACF activities. In concluding, it was stressed that the Public Sector reaffirmed its commitment to eradicating corruption.

The Civil Society Sector

In reflecting on developments since the inception of the Forum, the sector concluded that there have been key developments, such as the development and implementation of a National Anti-Corruption Framework. It also believes that there is a better understanding of the Framework's strengths and weaknesses. Capacity, implementation and political will remain key areas of concern in the fight against corruption. Specific civil society concerns regarding the Forum included: a lack of adequate human and financial resources; insufficient internal co-ordination; and finally, institutional memory. The sector also highlighted that the debate on institutionalisation and institutional support of the Forum needs to be re-opened. The sector noted that there have been some important lessons in the period since 2001, regarding meeting the objectives of the MoU. One of the most significant is that the Forum provides an important space for reflection, sharing experience and networks. However, there is an unequal commitment to the NACF and the sector has not picked any 'low hanging fruit.' The Forum remains disconnected from important initiatives such as the Inter-Ministerial Anti-Corruption Committee and the National Planning Commission. Civil society stressed that the emphasis should be placed on encouraging learning across sectors, instead on solely focusing on advising government. It also remains imperative to be realistic and interrogate if the Forum has made substantive efforts to tackle corruption. In conclusion, civil society stressed that it is necessary to change the nature of the Forum to become a forum for reflection and focus on practice, implementation and research.

In concluding the panel discussion, participants agreed that although the objectives of the Forum remained relevant, its overall governance, strategic approach, institutional arrangements and functionality required improvement. There was consensus that overcoming challenges in these areas was imperative, if the Forum is to have greater impact in driving the agenda to more effectively prevent and combat corruption.

Recommendations of the Workshop

The workshop broke into commissions to conduct in-depth discussions in three areas; namely: The Structure of the NACF; Resources and Administration; the Secretariat Function of the NACF. The recommendations which emerged from the Commissions are outlined below.

Recommendations on the Structure of the NACF:

  • The NACF should be formalized
  • Participation in the NACF needs to be broader with CSOs, the Business sector and the Public sector remaining at the Centre. Representation in the Forum from the sectors must be at senior/ decision-making level.
  • SALGA and Trade Unions must have representation in the Forum. Also, Independent advisors should be included as necessary and could include academics and other local or international experts.
  • The EXCO and Implementation committee should be collapsed into one structure (called EXCO) since there are overlaps between the two structures. The EXCO should also become the 'engine room' of the Forum and should be assisted by 'Task Teams' and Experts/ Academics.
  • Provincial structures that are linked to the national structure should be established, since most of the activities of the Forum take place at provincial level. Whether the Chairpersons of provincial structures should sit on the national structure remains debateable. However, caution should be used so that there isn't the creation of a quasi- government structure.
  • Issues that must be address urgently include: (1) The number of representatives that should be in the NACF; (2) The structure and organogram; (3) Clarification of roles and responsibilities at the Operational and Strategic levels; and (4) The role and location of technical committees.

Recommendations on Resources and Administration:

  • The NACF should be institutionalized into a structure that enables it to secure resources. Although it should not become a statutory body, the model of public entities such as NEDLAC, CCMA should be looked into.
  • The possibility of a dedicated seat for representation from academia (Experts) should be looked into as should the distinction of Organised Professional Bodies. These bodies are typically considered part of 'civil society.'

Recommendations on the Secretariat Function of the NACF:

  • A dedicated Secretariat should be established and the Secretariat should be empowered to become more effective as a coordinator and implementer of the NACF programmes.
  • his Secretariat should be established independently from the NACF Sectors and funding for the Secretariat should come from the Public Sector.
  • It was agreed that the Secretariat is best placed at the OPSC but it should employ dedicated staff and be independent. The strength of it remaining at the PSC stems from the fact that the PSC is impartial and exists through a Constitutional mandate.
  • The Secretariat should play a coordinating role. Its role and function should be broadened and it must play a more active role in implementing the Summit resolutions.
  • The programme of action of the NACF should be reviewed and a strategic review should take place.
  • On-going communication with the members of the NACF should be ensured by the Secretariat.
  • The Secretariat must ensure that it adheres to all principles of management and has allocated budgets to implement its programmes.
  • The Secretariat should also prepare position papers with stakeholders and ensure that it has continuous and proactive engagements with stakeholders.
  • The relationship between the IMC and the work of the NACF should be distinguished.

It was agreed that the proposals and recommendations made required follow-up through a smaller structure comprised of represented stakeholders. A Task Team was established based on volunteers from the workshop and key priority issues were identified for the Task Team to address. The Task Team will be required to conclude its work by 28th May 2010 and will submit a report to the next Forum meeting which is expected to take place shortly after the deadline of the Task Team.

A special meeting was called in the workshop in order to inform the workshop about the Report on the Implementation of Resolutions Made by Parliament on Corruption. The workshop was advised that the report would be formally tabled and discussed at the next meeting of the NACF and then, disseminated to the public.

Way Forward and Closing Remarks

In concluding the Forum, it was noted that the Forum must be recognised for its no nonsense stance on corruption regardless of where it emanates from. The Chairperson thanked all participants for their openness, frankness and demonstrated commitment to shaping the future of South Africa.


REPORT ON THE PROCEEDINGS

"REPORT OF THE CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP, 20TH APRIL, 2010, PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA"

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Department for International Development, UK  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit  Public Service CommissionUnited Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)