Business Against Corruption
Companies can help break the cycle of corruption in South Africa by protecting whistle blowers
If companies in South Africa want to contribute to breaking the cycle of corruption, they need to create an environment where those who have the courage to speak out feel safe to do so, said FTI Senior Managing Director of FTI Consulting in South Africa, Petrus Marais.
“It’s seldom that the participants in a corrupt transaction will have a ‘Damascus road’ moment and blow the whistle or go public,” said Marais. “That means having to look for evidence from peripheral observers as opposed to direct participants and piecing the circumstantial evidence together. Organisations need to create as safe as possible an environment for those that have the courage to speak out and raise their hands when they see or suspect something corrupt. It also requires a responsive and effective criminal justice system”.
Speaking at “Business Against Corruption” on 27 June in Johannesburg where business and government leaders discussed topics pivotal to beating corruption, Marais said organisations needed to ensure that their corporate environment protected whistle-blowers so that they could feel confident that if they reported corrupt activities to the investigating authorities, the case would receive the appropriate attention or to the prosecuting authorities and it would eventually have its day in court.
“My plea is for organisations to get to the point where witnesses find it easier to speak out and instigate a quicker reaction to corruption,” he said. Marais said one of the challenges companies and the government faced in tackling corruption in South Africa though, was the poor performance of the criminal justice system.