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Committed to root out corruption

Written by Irene Naidoo
The Police Department is committed to root out corruption among police officers, as well as to investigate allegations of corruption within government and the private sector, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told an Anti-Corruption Symposium in Midrand recently.

If you have a story to tell about how an official was happy to take R20 or a can of Coke from you in return for a favour or overlooking something you did wrong, you’d better keep the story to yourself if you don’t want to get caught.

It takes two (sometimes more) to commit corruption and the South African Police Service (SAPS) is out to get you with a new, revised Anti-Corruption Strategy. The strategy will focus on four important elements: prevention, detection, investigation and restorative actions.

To ensure that this works, anti-corruption action plans have been developed at divisional, provincial and police station levels.

Challenges

Over the past two years, SAPS have conducted more than 1 061 investigations into its own members who were allegedly involved in corruption. But there are a number of challenges that still need to be addressed. These include the unwillingness of police officers to report corrupt activities by their colleagues and reluctance of some police administrators to acknowledge corruption.

Speaking in Midrand recently, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa acknowledged the “decisive action” taken by the Hawks the police unit tasked to prevent, combat and investigate national priority crimes to fight corruption in government and the private sector.

There are currently 37 priority cases under investigation. The Hawks have also arrested 21 suspects involved in corruption relating to R437 million.

The Hawks established an Anti-corruption Unit that works in collaboration with different government departments. So far 76 public officials have been arrested.

Clean audit

The Hawks have also established Operation Clean Audit in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to keep an eye on corruption in local government.

A total of 362 cases have been reported or are being investigated. 144 public officials and 120 members of the public have appeared in court.

Linked to some of these cases, the Hawks have also secured the conviction of 60 public officials and 29 members of the public.

Better policing

Mthethwa said with its revised strategy the SAPS wanted to achieve better policing, an efficient criminal justice system, involvement of society in the fight against crime and restoring the moral fibre of South Africans.

He acknowledged that better accountability and transparency was needed to avoid corrupt activities, as well as stronger action against both those who corrupt and those who were corrupted.

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Ending corruption starts with you

While the police and other arms of government are at the forefront in the fight against corruption, ordinary South Africans have their own role to play.
As a citizen you can help rid the country of corruption by not becoming involved in corrupt activities and reporting any corruption you suspect or are aware of.
A number of hotlines and helplines have been created by government to ensure that you can pass on information without having to reveal your identity.

  • Corruption is a crime and can be reported to the police. You can pass on any information you may have without having to give your name or personal details. If the information helps in the positive investigation of a criminal case, you may be entitled to a reward. Call the Crime Stop number 08600 10 111.
  • Anonymous tip-offs on criminal activities can also be sent to Crime Line. You can send an SMS containing information to 32211 at a cost of R1 per SMS.
  • In addition to the above numbers, you can also call government’s National Anti-Corruption Hotline and pass on information on corrupt activities you are aware of without giving your name. The number is 0800 701 701.

For more information, call the SAPS National Anti-corruption Hotline: 0860 267 787 Crime Stop: 08600 10111