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Press Release: The SLSJ welcomes the call by CASAC to establish an anti-corruption agency

The South African Constitution envisages a society based on equality, human dignity and freedom. Certain conditions are necessary for this ideal society to be realised and one such condition is the ethical exercise of power in both the public and the private sphere. Various legislative measures are in place to ensure this ethical exercise of power. However, the high perception that there is widespread corruption in both the public and private sphere is disturbing. At the least it indicates a lack of confidence in the ability of our society to realise the vision of the Constitution. At worst, if this perception is justified, the vision of the Constitution will be frustrated. This is especially so because of the disproportionately negative effects of corrupt governance on the poor through the deflection of resources way from social services. Combating corruption is thus necessary for the realisation of a socially just society.

The Chairperson of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) has launched a “Red Card Corruption Campaign” calling for the establishment of independent agency that should be tasked with combating corruption. CASAC is an organisation created to promote progressive constitutionalism. In this, it shares a common purpose with SLSJ. Like CASAC, SLSJ believes that the fight against corruption will require strong and independent institutions specifically mandated to combat corruption and to educate the public.

In a recent judgment (Hugh Glenister v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others Case CCT 48/10 [2011] ZACC 6 – decided on 17 March 2011), the Constitutional Court ruled that the legislation which establishes the Hawks, the investigative body set up to replace the scorpions, did not contain sufficient safeguards to secure that body from political interference. This judgment highlights government’s domestic as well as international law obligations to create independent institutions to combat corruption.

CASAC also highlights the importance of public education in the campaign against corruption. SLSJ welcomes this approach. The fight against corruption will require an informed citizenship. Public awareness as to what conduct amounts to corruption makes the battle against corruption that much easier.

Like CASAC, SLSJ echoes the sentiments that we must red-card corruption.

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