I am please to share with you the Strategic Plan of the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) which is a response to a number of challenges facing Southern Africa. As you might already be aware, Southern Africa is endowed with huge deposits of mineral and other resources that should ordinarily be channeled towards extricating the citizenry from the jaws of poverty. However, the paradox of plenty is a reality when one looks at the poverty levels in some of the countries. Some Southern African countries with an abundance of natural resources (such as fossil fuels and certain minerals), tend to have less economic growth, less democracy, and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. Reference to UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) shows that most of these countries are still in the ‘low human development’ category. The countries in the ‘low human development’ category are also perceived as highly corrupt as evidenced through Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI). Whilst this vividly shows a link between corruption and development, it also calls upon different stakeholders to take appropriate action without fear or favour in addressing the corruption challenge. On the positive, most of the SADC Member States signed and ratified anti-corruption instruments, (such as the SADC Protocol against Corruption, AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption) but the signatures and the ratifications thereof are not translated into concrete anti-corruption interventions at the country level. It is our conviction as the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) that fighting corruption helps to reduce poverty and inequalities. To this end, concerted efforts are needed to support anti-corruption drives by SADC Member States, CSOs and the private sector among others.
This strategy is regional in nature, and as such is meant to:
- Enhance the capacities of specialised
anti-corruption bodies, auditors and audit
institutions, judicial institutions, and law enforcement agents, to effectively
respond to the challenge of corruption;
- Support national, regional and international efforts towards the formulation, implementation, adherence and coordination of anti-corruption treaties, legislation, policies and action plans;
- Enhance the capacities of communities, media and civil society organisations to effectively contribute to dialogue on strengthening the development and implementation of anti-corruption institutions, legislation and policies for eradication of poverty and inequality
- Contribute to anti-corruption knowledge generation, codification and advocacy for improved efficiency, effectiveness and impact of anti-corruption efforts.
- Improve access to justice to victims of corruption, targeting marginalised communities, especially women, youths, the disabled and those living with HIV and AIDS;
- Strengthen national, regional and international cooperation on criminal, civil and administrative matters relating to corruption in line with regional, continental and international anti-corruption treaties.
It is our fervent hope that ACT-SA will work closely with bodies such as, the SADC, AU and the UN to ensure the domestication of major anti-corruption treaties whilst at the same time facilitating learning and exchange of anti-corruption good practices and South-South cooperation on relevant issues.
Our vision is really to see SADC member states’ policies and institutions working in unison to plug all the holes that expose national institutions to corruption and abuses due to various national and regional policies expedited on political grounds at the expense of constitutionalism. Increasing poverty is a good indicator in any society that policies are going against the citizenry and the next question then is who is benefiting from the policies and at the expense of who? Working towards eradicating corruption will give SADC member states an opportunity to start working towards sustainable development that will benefit citizens.
I am calling upon different stakeholders such as SADC Member states, international partners, CSOs, the private sector and others to support ACT-SA to implement the activities in this Plan in the most effective, efficient and sustainable manner.
DAVID. C. JAMALI