Leading anti-corruption academic to address casual factors behind corruption
A clear lack of understanding of the effects and repercussions of corruption, by the South African government, business and the
Cape Town, 29 March 2012 - This is the view of Professor Gavin Woods, Director of Stellenbosch University’s Anti-Corruption Centre for Education and Research (ACCERUS). Professor Woods will be a keynote speaker at the 13th biennial International Winelands Conference to be held in Stellenbosch from 2-4 April.
Woods says, “The biggest problem lies in that there is there is no clear and consistent understanding of corruption in society. Everyone, including government, have their own views and opinions. This lack of understanding helps create an environment in the public sector where corruption thrives.
“Global research, including that done by ACCERUS, has shown conclusively that weak leadership and weak structures are conducive to corrupt practices. The problem of weak leaders in the public sector is widespread. Many managers simply do not have the experience or skills needed to run a public organisation.”
“Research has further shown that corruption is multi-causal. Capitalism and the desire to acquire wealth is but one of the reasons. It has also been shown that value systems in countries in transition become fluid and confused”, says Woods.
He cited China, Russia and India as examples, showing how corruption increased in direct relation to great economic and/or political change.
“Corruption in the public sector, undermines citizens’ confidence in all matters related to public service delivery . When a public service entity is known for corrupt practices, it leads to a feeling of disempowerment amongst the population and can severely undermine the democratic processes. ”
“There is a definite need to implement systems inside public organisations that will make corrupt practices too high risk to even contemplate. By raising the risk potential for the would-be perpetrators we can begin to eliminate opportunities for corruption. As simple as it sounds, before we can start implementing preventative measures we need a more comprehensive and coherent understanding of corruption and its causes”, points out Prof. Woods.
Considered the eminent public leadership and governance forum of its kind in South Africa, the International Winelands Conference is sponsored by professional services firm Deloitte, which has recently signed a partnership agreement to work alongside ACCERUS to develop and promote working solutions to combat corruption. The conference is hosted in collaboration with ACCERUS and the Zijlstra Centre for Public Control and Governance (Vrije Universiteit) in Amsterdam.
Deloitte Director and Anti-Corruption Leader Marius Alberts says, “The Winelands Conference brings together some of the world’s greatest minds, focused on anti-corruption initiatives and programmes. Forums like this conference are invaluable to the work Deloitte does in the sector and enables us to pass the benefits of the innovations and lessons learned directly on to our clients. Deloitte is committed to doing all we can to rid our society of the ravages of corruption, hence our partnership with ACCERUS..”
Presented by the Stellenbosch University (SU) School of Public Leadership (SPL), the event is the only international conference in South Africa that puts the spotlight on challenges in the public sector. This year it is themed Integrity and Governance: What is wrong? What is right? What is next?
Other speakers include: Dr Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of the global corruption fighting organisation, Transparency International; John Bennington, Professor in Public Management, Management and Policy (Warwick University); Erwin Schwella, Professor in Public Leadership (SPL) and Geert Bouckaert, Director: Institute for Public Management (Flanders).
Topics include: Putting the “good” back into governance while corruption has taken a turn for the worse in the South African public sector; Effective leadership: the solution to end corruption in the South African public sector; The ethics of accountability in the Public Sector; The Best of Times, The worst of Times: Public Corruption in US Municipalities; Good criminal: new insights into corruption in the public service; An innovative combination of technology and tradition used to minimize depravity in South African tribal land; and The future of management and the management of the future.
ADDITIONAL CONFERENCE INFORMATION
The Winelands conference, with its essentially public leadership and governance focus, is held every second year in Stellenbosch in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The Conference always attracts an accomplished range of international participants – not least because of its stimulating and collegiate ambiance.
The 13th Winelands Conference proposes to address the contribution of various research disciplines towards solving particular social and administrative problems. To this end the Conference will focus on three inter-related themes.
Deloitte is expanding their footprint in the Western Cape with the opening of a new office in Stellenbosch to better service clients in the Boland Region.