Time to isolate and shame corrupt officials

2012-01-26 13:32

Johannesburg - Anti-corruption activists took to the internet on Thursday with a labour-backed campaign that aims to shame corrupt officials.

Whistleblowers are encouraged to submit information anonymously online to the new Corruption Watch site and cellphone message hotline.

The independent organisation, headed by a former director of the country's anti-monopoly commission, will gather and publicise information about official corruption and hand evidence to authorities.

The effort, funded by charitable donations, is the brainchild of Cosatu. The trade union coalition has repeatedly pressed the ANC to clean-up government, saying corruption is draining the country of funds that could be used to build schools and hospitals and create jobs.

Isolate and shame

ANC leaders say they take the fight against corruption seriously but have been accused of acting slowly and protecting tainted but loyal members. Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, speaking at the launching of Corruption Watch, called corruption a "cancer".

Corruption Watch's board of directors includes an Anglican archbishop and a former Constitutional Court judge.

Thursday's announcement drew a crowd of political luminaries to a hall in a historic jail that has been converted into a community centre. Parts were broadcast live on TV.

It "will help to build a climate in which every South African is playing a part in isolating and shaming the culprits," Cosatu said in a statement.

"It will help to establish a tradition that those caught... will voluntarily resign, shamed by the weight of public disapproval, rather than defiantly remaining in office while the evidence against them mounts up."

Chance to speak out

The forums may be used to make false claims to settle scores or seek advantage, so verifying information is important, its supporters say.

Ben Elers, of the global watchdog Transparency International, said activists behind similar projects around the world have worked with government investigators and journalists to ensure the campaigns are credible and lead to action.

Elers said internet and other campaigns give ordinary citizens a chance to speak out about corruption and assert their rights.

When Transparency opened a telephone hotline in central Europe several years ago, it was so overwhelmed by callers it had to suspend the service for a week to regroup.

That kind of response, Elers said, shows that far from being apathetic about corruption, "people will become involved when there are simple, viable mechanisms for them to do so".

South Africa already has a public protector, an independent investigator who has been lauded for her vigorous pursuit of corruption in high places. The country's media also is aggressive in reporting on corruption.

Persistent problem

Steven Friedman, director of South Africa's Centre for the Study of Democracy, welcomed Corruption Watch but also called for a broader approach, saying the business people who bribe greedy politicians also are responsible for corruption.

In its corruption index, Transparency International ranked South Africa 64th worst of 183 countries and territories in 2011, down from 54 of 178 the previous year.

A separate survey of the general public in South Africa in 2010 found 62% believed corruption has worsened over the three previous years.

"Corruption is still quite a persistent problem" in South Africa, said Finn Heinrich, Transparency's research director. "Corruption is still very, very widespread, if not increasing."

Last year, President Jacob Zuma suspended the national police chief and fired a Cabinet minister caught up in a scandal over leasing police headquarters buildings.

Zuma also fired another Cabinet minister who an independent investigator said used taxpayer money to live extravagantly.

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-26 13:39

    Oh dear, isn't that almost everyone in National and Local Government?

      Kacee - 2012-01-26 13:44

      I wonder how long this will last before they are shutdown?

      Newsmonger - 2012-01-26 13:52

      Who would have thought cosatu actually would have 'done some good' - brain child atleast there are glimmers of hope.

      chantelebrown - 2012-01-26 13:52

      Just think this campaign is a good idea and hopefully it will produce better results.

      Eduard - 2012-01-26 13:57

      Yes, it might be...

      NrGx - 2012-01-26 14:01

      It will turn out to be the same fate as the scorpions. Something like a 99% success rate, and in the beginning they applauded the scorpions for their good work, but as soon as they went after their "leader"....EISH! NO! stop, you doing a good job but do it outside, and the scorpions were disbanded. Same goes for this anti-corruption "dealio", as soon as one of the elite will be shamed, so then they will also be disbanded.

      Newsmonger - 2012-01-26 14:04

      @ngx watch trevor noah much? used almost the same lines!lmao

      Piet - 2012-01-26 14:10

      One billion seconds ago it was 1981.....Imagine one rand for every second. Gauteng has lost 4.8 billion, that will place us in the 1800's. So to lose that amount of money the whole ANC will have to shamed!

      NrGx - 2012-01-26 14:13

      @newsmonger, LOL, who else, no one can explain it better than him!

      Willie - 2012-01-26 14:22

      " isolating and shaming the culprits," NO no no we need to suspend them without pay and there after jail them

      Dirk - 2012-01-26 17:37

      To demonstrate HOW serious, begin at the very top and work down

      Spyker - 2012-01-26 18:23

      TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE... The ONLY meaningful measure is a wholesale tax-boycott. The principle is simple.., NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. ...

  • cosmos.ndebele - 2012-01-26 13:41

    Twitter, Blogs here we go!!!

  • cameronjohnprice - 2012-01-26 13:41

    The time has come before, but nothing happened - stop talking about it, do it!

  • Justin - 2012-01-26 13:42

    sorry for you Malema!!!

  • Annelise - 2012-01-26 13:43

    Finally I can say well done Cosato. Finally you have done something good for South Africa. Let us just keep the pressure in this corrupt officials and force government to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

  • Earthling - 2012-01-26 13:43

    Finally! A cure for cANCer.

      procold2 - 2012-01-26 14:06

      dont know about a cure,but a step in the right direction

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-26 13:44

    So we'll have a list with a large number of ANC reps and their relatives. That DA guy who was buying up houses cheaply on auction for not paying rates without their owners knowledge. Union bosses. A smattering of IFP guys and half of government. I think that pretty much covers it.

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-26 13:47

    On a side topic I propose a sister entity called 'Incompetence Watch' that lists companies, employees and officials who should be sterilized to prevent their genes contaminating future generations.

  • mmatau - 2012-01-26 13:49

    this is bound to trigger a quick 'finalising of the protection of information bill'. unless the government doesn't have anything to hide (which i doubt!)

  • Herman - 2012-01-26 13:49

    Sounds like the old "Police File" on it is more like "check your mate"

  • Comrade - 2012-01-26 13:52


  • alanaR.rodriguez - 2012-01-26 13:52

    Could all the ministers in cabinet please step forward for the "walk of shame".... Who are they kidding now? They will name and shame those who are no longer in the click...

  • alanaR.rodriguez - 2012-01-26 13:54

    ...wonder who is going to run the country after this... that is IF it's done properly...

  • Ryan - 2012-01-26 13:54

    The problem of corruption begins and ends with Zuma and his entire Executive. Naming and shmaing will have no effect when corruption is practised and endorsed by the President. The solution is to topple the Government. Viva DA Viva!

  • Celtis - 2012-01-26 13:55

    You cannot shame them even if you try. Being part of ANC is shameful enough.

      NrGx - 2012-01-26 14:04

      to be shameful for ones actions, implies that one had morals to begin with!, which, as we know, the anc has NONE!

  • Snoopsy - 2012-01-26 13:55

    This is Excellent! Hope they stick to their guns!

  • Patrick - 2012-01-26 13:57

    i think that web site will crash with the amount of corruption in sa

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-26 13:59

    Strange to see the words "corruption" and "Jacob Zuma" in one article and to date no-one has denied anything or said "It was taken out of context" !!!

  • Emile - 2012-01-26 14:03

    why shame them ?? they have no integrity anyway, we need a justice system that is not influenced by government, but act on what is wright and what is wrong, no one is above the law, these corrupt officials deserve back to back life sentences with hard labour, nothing less!!

  • braamc - 2012-01-26 14:05

    Time to isolate and shame corrupt officials - for f*%$ck sake, time to arrest and jail them, R20b gone and it is time to isolate and shame corrupt officials? Time for this country to start again without these ANC filth!

  • lynette.hugo - 2012-01-26 14:07

    Is this a joke or what?

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-01-26 14:07

    is't it funny how when the most corrupt official doesn't get his cut he desides to oust everyone involved? it's like if deosn't get his piece no one gets a piece.

  • Paul - 2012-01-26 14:07

    Hey everybody, instead of sitting here and commenting on what good it will or will not do, or making comments about the useless ANC, why dont you go and sign up. I have, and the more that do, the more effective we can become in fighting this sick and evil cancer in our society. Lets stand up and fight.....sign up.

  • lisa.evansdominick - 2012-01-26 14:08

    HAHAHAHA that would be 80% of Government, yeah then the DA could take over and we would be have a recently run country at last...

  • rueon.scott - 2012-01-26 14:12

    quick, before the information bill is passed!! as long as people keep voting for the ANC nothing will change, it will only ge worse

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-26 14:17

    Your time is over!

  • Johan - 2012-01-26 14:18

    I just signed up. Whatever it takes to expose corruption. Follow me........

  • Dirk - 2012-01-26 14:18

    Cosatu together with the SACP are sharing a bed with the ANC. They elected and protected this government and are still too willing to sweep their dirt under the bed. In other words, COSATU CAN NOT BE TRUSTED! In stead of rejecting the DA (because COSATU are racist), they should acknowledge that the DA are streets - indeed light years ahead of any other serving provincial or the national government in South Africa in fighting corruption. But they wont. In stead, they will try to move the focus before they acknowledge that they are in bed with a corrupt partner. Sis!

  • Sikanyiso - 2012-01-26 14:24

    This a one step in the right direction. Corruption in this country is rampant and it needs stringent action against those who are involved. I realy hesidate if this will make any change due to the amount abdurant some of our offials always display. It is very rare in Africa for an officer to resign voluntarirly unless he is pushed to do so unlike in the civilized world. Corruption should be stopped before it becomes a norm otherwise our country would soon become what Cosatu General reffer as a predatory state with demented political hynas.

  • Wendy - 2012-01-26 14:24

    At least this is a positive move!

  • Ben - 2012-01-26 14:33

    This is a good move. Why not complete the exercise and recover all proceeds of corruption. That way we can attain a positive growth rate of 10% or more within a year plus job creation opportunities like never before.

  • carvern - 2012-01-26 14:39

    Zuma is fire-ring corrupt officials but he himself is still under the spotlight over corruption. The blind leading blind

  • Ziggie - 2012-01-26 14:41

    Not a chance with the new secrecy bill coming up........, better be quick if you want to.

  • PaasHaas - 2012-01-26 14:52

    There's a guy trying to expose, name and shame the corrupt management of the Kruger Park on Facebook. Twice Facebook have shut him down.

  • Jeffrey - 2012-01-26 14:57

    What a waste of time, shame is not enough, put them in jail for more than 10 years with no option of parole, they are anarchysts,anti-patrotic

  • philippina.uys - 2012-01-26 15:01

    Then the taxpayer is expected to pay for this and become poorer.Whilst the wrong doers go free. Seriously Disgusting .And the treasurer as per tax is in a deficite.More PAYE for the ordinary person this year. Shame

  • Shirley - 2012-01-26 15:07

    There would be no one left in government! They fire 1 and give another 20 paid"suspenion" leave> These corrupt officials are literally laughing all the way to the bank-they know its a win win situation! The rot in government has so many layers by this time-from official to family members to friends!

  • Jeffrey - 2012-01-26 15:07

    I will steal millions and millions, then be shamed, I don't think so, poverty moorons think, poverty shames, you un political idiots, poverty shame. Snoop dog is smoking dagga, ut he is still on the wall of fame, no wall of shame for millionaire, impossible

  • DrGonzoSA - 2012-01-26 15:08

    They need to sort their website out. There is no "select location" button and cant get past page 2

  • Gail - 2012-01-26 15:09


  • martir02 - 2012-01-26 15:11

    Ok is it one of those? Whatever happened to the Presidential hotline.......Let’s see if this one survive...

  • Stephen - 2012-01-26 15:12

    Surely Zuma should fire all the Ministers as well as himself as they are all living large and high on the hog with our hard-earned tax monies. Having no or little Goverment can't be much worse than the one we currently have.

  • Pur - 2012-01-26 16:07

    Naming and shaming, leading to being fired or resigning, is not enough. Corruption and theft of public money should carry a stiff sentence of 15 years per count, and NOT run concurrently. So those guilty of 10 counts of corruption and/or stealing public money get 150 years but are eligible for parole after 75 years. That would straighten up these people!

  • Kala - 2012-01-26 17:12

    It's all very well naming them but those who steal from us have no shame. And even after they have been fingered and pointed out, named and (apparently) shamed, nothing ever gets done about recovering that which was stolen. THERE IS NO ACCOUNTABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY!!!!!!!!! SO WHAT'S THE POINT???

  • mbonanda - 2012-01-26 19:25

    At least there's some light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, this will work if carefully planned and if cases reported are investigated by private professionals who are not politically motivated. If there is any in existence.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-26 19:53

    Expose, investigate, arrest, execute, jail term and recovery would be much better. They can't be ashamed and the best isolation is prison term and recovery. If they were ashamed they wouldn't build mansions and drive German sedans in their communities.

      Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-26 21:15

      I mean prosecute instead of execute so that they can see out their sentences.

  • Grunt - 2012-01-26 20:52

    Next time, and in restrospect: isolate, shame. prosecute and hang them!

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