Forensic Practitioners COVID-19: South Africa
With numerous sectors experiencing financial distress and companies and individuals facing the increased likelihood of insolvency as a result of the economic disruption caused by Covid-19, forensic practitioners will play a key role in supporting South Africa’s economic recovery.
Prior to lockdown, the country faced huge demand for the services of skilled and competent forensic practitioners – those with the technology, legal and accounting skills and capabilities to conduct large and complex forensic investigations – to build cases against those who had misappropriated fund in both the private and public sector.
As the headlines in the daily news attest, economic crimes hit record highs in 2019, with fraud, misappropriation of assets and cybercrime costing the state and South African economy billions of rand in lost revenues.
Despite the country’s score in the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index released by global civil society organisation Transparency International, improving marginally from 43 to 44 out of a potential 100 during 2019, the country still ranks among countries that are perceived to have a serious corruption problem.
Now with Covid19 looming over the global economy, if South Africa is to attract the necessary capital to put the country’s economy back on a growth path, it will need to reassure investors that the government is serious about combatting corruption and that the private sector adheres to the highest standards of governance.
Much of that depends on visible improvements such as successfully prosecuting criminal cases of fraud and corruption to win the trust of the public and investors alike.