FORMER South African public protector Thuli Madonsela says the cost of doing business increases when there is corruption.
Madonsela, who is the chief patron of the Thuli Madonsela Foundation, said this during the Namibian Manufacturers Association (NMA)'s Manufacturer of the Year Awards gala dinner held at a Windhoek hotel on Thursday evening.
She has handled some of the biggest corruption cases in Africa's largest economy, including where president Jacob Zuma was implicated of wrongdoing, and said money used in corruption could rather be put to good use, including providing capital for the the youth to start businesses.
"At times, you might want to sell things you manufacture to the state. But when there is corruption in the state procurement system, it will poison the entire economy, including the manufacturing sector," she stated.
She added that all forms of corruption, whether grand, petty or transactional, should be condemned.
She furthermore encouraged African economies to rather manufacture goods which they need, such as tablets needed in schools, instead of having to import everything.
Madonsela gave an example of an African minister who went to Asia, and was given a treat by his Asian counterpart at his luxurious residence with all the state-of-art conveniences and gadgets.
When the African minister said with his salary he could not afford such opulence, the Asian minister took him on a road and told him his house came from 10% of that road.
After two years, the African minister invited the Asian minister, who was shocked by the beautiful mansion of a minister who two years back claimed his salary would not do much.
"When the Asian asked about how he had managed to acquire such a beautiful mansion, the minister said to him 'look at that hospital', and when the Asian looked but saw nothing, the African minister said '100% of the hospital money'.
When her audience burst out with laughter, Madonsela said:
"Like you, I laughed. Until I had to deal with cases where money for hospital equipment left treasury, but equipment was never delivered; cases where money to build 400 houses was released, and when someone went to check, only one house was built, and I realised how serious a cancer corruption in Africa is."
NMA Manufacturer of the Year 2017 winners were as follows:
Small category: Karakulia Weavers, Embrace Namibia Enterprise CC and Unleashed Designs CC.
Medium category: Ekango Salt Refiners (Pty) Ltd, Slowtown Coffee Roasters CC and Machinery & Tool Maintenance Engineers.
Large category: Guan's Packaging (Pty) Ltd, Closwa CC and Windhoek Schlachterei.
Corporate category: Namibia Breweries Ltd, Namibia Dairies (Pty) Ltd and Plastic Packaging (Pty) Ltd.
Best ambassador: Guan's Packaging (Pty) Ltd, Namibia Breweries Ltd and Plastic Packaging (Pty) Ltd.
Most environmental-friendly: Rent-A-Drum (Pty) Ltd, Plastic Packaging (Pty) Ltd and Guan's Packaging (Pty) Ltd.
Namibia Breweries Limited won the best overall corporate manufacturer, while Guan's Packaging (Pty) Ltd won the best overall large manufacturer's award.