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Report corruption via the anti-corruption hotline

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

If you suspect corruption, fraud, theft or other wrongdoing in the public service, you are urged to report it.

Curbing corruption in the public service remains a government priority and the National Anti-Corruption Hotline makes it easy for members of the public to report suspected acts of corruption.

The hotline was launched by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in 2004 and since then, more than 100 000 calls reporting allegations of corruption and maladministration have been received. These calls by whistle-blowers have resulted in 24 035 cases of corruption, fraud and other crimes being investigated, says Public Service Commissioner Michael Seloane, who oversees all the work done by the commission.

Between 2020 and 2021, 337 cases were reported via the hotline. Thirty-five of these involve appointment and procurement irregularities that are being investigated by the PSC. The remaining cases were referred to other government departments or law enforcement agencies for investigation.

The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) housing, tender and social grant irregularities are among the most common allegations made. 

“During the lockdown we received a lot of tip-offs through email. We also have an automatic message recording system for those who wish to call our hotline after hours,” Seloane says.

He adds that since the lowering of lockdown levels, there has been a steady increase in the reporting of social grant-related fraud, especially Social Relief of Distress grants.

To strengthen efforts to curb corruption, the State has capacitated law enforcement agencies with skilled personnel, and established the Fusion Centre.

The centre is a grouping of law enforcement agencies that share information and resources in the fight against fraud and corruption in the procurement of COVID-related goods and services.

What happens after a tip-off is made?

Seloane says when a case is reported via the hotline, early resolution officers check that all the relevant information is provided. This includes the details of who did what, when the alleged act took place, and why.

He says if wrongdoing is found – be it procurement and appointment irregularities, bribery, RDP housing related corruption, social grant fraud, illegal migration, assault, theft or fraud – the PSC either recommends remedial action to the relevant department or refers the case to the Hawks, SAPS or Anti-Corruption Task Team for further investigation.

Cases the PSC refers to departments for investigation, include:

  • Public servants doing extra work for money without consent of the departments
  • Undeclared conflicts of interests, and
  • Unethical behaviour.

Seloane says the PSC gives government departments 60 days to investigate and close a case. He says the department then informs the PSC of its findings. “If we are happy with the steps taken by the department, we will close the case, but if we are not satisfied, we revert back to them.”

Anonymity guaranteed

When a whistle-blower does not want his/her identity revealed, the PSC hotline officer takes down only their contact details. This is important because if extra information is needed, the PSC must be able to contact them.

Whistle-blowers who report cases to the PSC hotline are assured protection if they want to remain anonymous, says Seloane. He explains that early resolution officers have been trained to ensure that a whistle-blower’s identity remains protected.

Seloane says South Africans must report corruption because it steals from the poor and stops development, which prevents the country from moving forward.

National Anti-Corruption Hotline:

0800 701 701 Whistle-blowers may also send tip-offs via email (integrity@publicservicecorruptionhotline.org.za) or fax (0800 204 965).

publicservicecorruptionhotline.org.za or fax (0800 204 965).