19 October 2018

South Africa: People's Tribunal Sends Strong Message Against Impunity in Private Sector

Photo: Steinhoff
(file photo).
analysis

Why are government failures so distinctly imprinted in the public's memories, while outrage over private sector corruption enjoys a much shorter lifespan?

If you listen carefully to the findings of the first People's Tribunal on Economic Crime, held at Constitution Hill last month, you will hear a common refrain: The private sector has aided and abetted economic crimes and corruption for at least the past four decades.

Yet the idea that the public sector is at the root of all corruption is a dominant public perception, with some breathing a sigh of relief when there are hints that public services could be privatised, all in the name of corporate efficiency.

Although it must be noted that this is not a uniquely South African mindset, it is equally important to recognise the danger this ideology poses to the development of our young democracy. We must tackle public and private sector corruption with equal vigour.

We see how deeply rooted this belief in private sector honesty and efficiency is when scandals such as Steinhoff or...

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