independent think-tank and advocacy against corruption
Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (acronym ACT-Southern Africa) is a regional, non-profit making and non-political organisation that was registered in South Africa and Zimbabwe to campaign against corruption in Southern Africa. In South Africa, it was registered under the Non-Profit Organisations Act, 1997 (Registration Number:- 045-923-NPO refers). In Zimbabwe, it was registered as a Trust, under the Registrar of Deeds (Registration Number: MA147/2004 refers).
Accountable, transparent and legitimate public and private sector institutions operating alongside a well informed, empowered and actively engaged citizenry in poverty eradication and development.
To contribute towards good governance and the ending of corruption in Southern Africa through institutional capacity building, situational prevention of corruption, social prevention and public empowerment, anti-corruption policy and law reform and research and development.
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The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) is a registered regional, non-governmental, non-profit making and non-political organisation that was founded in 2004 to campaign against corruption in the private and public sectors. We are politically non-partisan and genuinely independent. Our programmes are not influenced by anyone. However, all the sources of our funding are transparent and the same applies to our spending. ACT-SA undertakes activities that contribute to poverty and inequality reduction in Southern Africa. ACT-SA is registered in the South Africa under the Non-Profit Organisation Act as well as in Zimbabwe as a Trust. The organisation operates in Southern Africa targeting the SADC member states.
ACT-SA has one vision: Accountable, transparent and legitimate public and private sector institutions operating alongside a well informed empowered and actively engaged citizenry.
The mission of ACT-SA is to contribute towards good governance and the eradication of corruption in Southern Africa through: (1) Institutional capacity building, (2) Situational prevention of corruption, (3) Social prevention and public empowerment; (4) Anti-corruption policy and law reform and (5) Research and development.
The activities of ACT-SA include: (1). Facilitating anti-corruption capacity building and institution building, (2) Advocating for anti-corruption institutional, policy and law reform, (3) Facilitating access to justice to victims of corruption, (4) Anti-corruption empowerment of communities, civil society and business sector entities (5) Facilitating national, regional and international cooperation on civil, criminal and administrative matters relating to corruption and (6) research and development
The idea to set up the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) was initiated in 2003 by some individuals who were really concerned about the deleterious effects of corruption on development. Among the founders were Arnold Tsunga, Obert Chinhamo, Alouis Munyaradzi Chaumba, and Paul Themba Nyathi among others. These individuals were deeply concerned that some African States were endowed with an abundance of natural resources but nonetheless, their citizens were very poor. These resources were enriching a few individuals. Other countries were doing well whilst in others corruption was endemic. There was need to find out the underlying root causes and where possible create a platform for different stakeholders to learn from each on the best strategies to fight corruption.
Back then, the founders felt that there was need to work on:
- the prosecution of high profile corrupt leaders and seizures of their illicitly gained wealth
- dealing with impunity against corruption;
- improving anti-corruption laws and policies;
- engaging in anti-corruption exchange programmes
- dealing with corruption in the private sector;
- setting up and/or strengthening anti-corruption courts and tribunals;
- strengthening anti-corruption institutions;
- tackling electoral corruption;
- raising awareness against corruption and its negative consequences.
In 2004, some meetings were held to discuss on setting up the Trust. Legal practitioners under the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) volunteered to support by drafting the Notarial Deed of Trust and lodging it for registration with the Registrar of Deeds Office in Harare, Zimbabwe. Eventually ACT-SA was born and registered under Notarial Deed Trust Number MA147/2004.
The setting up of ACT-SA received a lot of interest in Southern Africa. In South Africa, Heather van Nierkerk, the former Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa and Shirley Mabusela the former Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission took the leadership of registering the Trust in South Africa. Resultantly, it was registered under the Non-Profit Organisations Act (Reg Number 45.923 NPO refers). As time advanced ACT-SA had champions in several SADC Member States:
- In Namibia, Mr. Norman Tjombe, the former Executive Director of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) joined ACT-SA as a member of the Regional Board of Trustees;
- As already said, in South Africa, there was Ms. Heather van Niekerk of Amnesty International South Africa and Ms. Shirley Mabusela of the South African Human Rights Commission. Ms. Shirley Mabusela served as the a member of the Regional Board of Trustees;
- Apart from being one of the founders, Mr. Arnold Tsunga represented Zimbabwe in the Regional Board of Trustees. Mr Tsunga is the Africa Director of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and before joining the ICJ, he was the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Executive Secretary of the Zimbabwe Law Society. In 2006, he was awarded the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and also honoured as a Human Rights Defender in 2006 by Human Rights Watch. Mr. Tsunga is the outgoing Chairperson and is continuing as a board member of ACT-SA.
- In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Hon. Wildor Makonero who was a Senator of the Parliament of the DRC as well as member of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum was a representative of DRC in the Regional Board of Trustees
- In Tanzania, the late Prof Haroub Othman served as a member of the Regional Board of Trustees. The late Prof Othman, was a senior Lecturer at the University of Dar Es Salaam and the President of the Zanzibar Legal Services Centre. After his untimely passing on, he was replaced by Prof. Chris Maina Peter who is a professor of law at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).
- In Mozambique, ACT-SA was first represented by Hon.Paulo Comoane of LIGA before he was replaced by Albino Forquilha, the President of the National Association of Demobilised Soldiers of Mozambique;
- Chris Chisoni of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi represents Malawi;
- The late Prof. Alfred Chanda was the representative for Zambia before he was replaced by Mr. Reuben Lifuka.
- The Lesotho representative is Booi Mohapi, the Executive Secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.