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28 April 2013 | Adam Leach
The former managing director of the World Bank has said South African society is infected by a “culture of corruption and impunity” that has led to R30 billion ($3.29 billion) a year being lost in procurement.
Addressing students, business leaders and academics at Wits University on Thursday, Mamphela Ramphele, the leader of political campaign group AgangSA issued a rallying cry for South African citizens to stand up against abuse within public procurement.
Citing estimates that R30 billion is diverted away from government in the purchasing process, she called for her compatriots to over come fear and fight crookedness.
“A culture of corruption and impunity is seeping through every level of government, corroding our entire society. It is estimated that corruption robs us of more than R30 billion from our government’s budget every year through abuse of the procurement system,” she said.
Substantiating her point, Ramphele queried where the country could be if R30 billion a year was spent on schools, bridges and roads, rather than being lost to corrupt practices. In a speech peppered with references to a atmosphere of fear holding people back from reporting incidents of corruption, she called for South Africans to draw inspiration from the fight against apartheid to clean up fraud within the public sector.
SM has invited the South African government to comment on the speech and is awaiting a response.