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02. November 2015

STATEMENT BY ADV. NGOAKO ABEL RAMATHLODI, MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION, REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AT THE 6TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION ON 2 NOVEMBER 2015, ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIAN FEDERATION

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Mr. President,

I wish to take this opportunity to express South Africa’s congratulations on your election as President of the 6th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. We are confident that under your leadership and guidance, the Conference will come to a successful conclusion. In this regard, I extend my delegation’s full cooperation and support. 

May you allow me Mr. President, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Government and People of the Russian Federation, especially the affected families, for the tragedy that befell this friendly nation.

We also extend our gratitude to the Government of the Russian Federation for hosting the conference and the warm reception accorded to our delegation.

South Africa associates itself with the statements delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, respectively. 

Mr President,

Corruption is a global phenomenon that impedes development and service delivery. It undermines good governance and the rule of law. It is detrimental to economic growth and impacts negatively on the social conditions of our people. More than anything else, it is an enabler for other forms of organized crime.

It is therefore, my delegation’s view that the United Nations Convention against Corruption remains an effective global instrument to address the scourge of corruption.  We are thus called upon to redouble our collective efforts to implement the provisions of the Convention.  

Mr President,

We are pleased that to date a significant number of States have ratified the Convention. This is indeed an affirmation of the international community’s commitment to collectively fight corruption. However, without a rigorous review mechanism, the implementation of any international instrument remains ineffective. 

It is for this reason that South Africa welcomed, supported, and participated in the current review mechanism. We have fully embraced this review mechanism because of its intergovernmental character; non-intrusiveness and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of State Parties.

The first review cycle has been a positive learning experience for South Africa and I believe for all of us. This process has significantly assisted reviewed States Parties to strengthen their domestic measures to prevent, detect and fight corruption, including fostering international cooperation.

As one of the first countries that were reviewed during the first cycle, we have benefitted immensely from this process.  We are pleased that in the main, the outcome of the review process of South Africa was positive.  However, in order to further strengthen the implementation of the Convention, few recommendations were made which we are currently implementing. These include a process to amend the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act and the review of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Other measures that have been adopted to enhance our fight against corruption include:

1.   A multi-agency approach to fighting corruption.  In this regard, various institutions have been given the mandate to prevent corruption in the public sector, including protecting the integrity of the government procurement processes;

2.   An open tender system to encourage transparency and openness in the procurement processes;

3.   Listing of companies or persons convicted of corruption in the Register for Tender Defaulters and therefore, prohibiting them from doing business with government;

4.   Public Administration and Management Act, to improve anti-corruption measures and promote ethics within the public administration sphere; and

5.   Establishment of the Financial Intelligence Centre to fight money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Mr President,

The issue of asset recovery is one of the fundamental pillars of the Convention. The Convention enjoins us to work together to ensure that illicitly acquired assets are returned to the countries of origin. We therefore welcome the draft resolution led by Nigeria to enhance international cooperation in asset recovery and stem illicit financial flows.

Due to our resounding success in asset recovery, South African authorities have been invited in various platforms including the Asset Recovery Working Group of the United Nations Convention against Corruption to share their experience and best practices in asset recovery.

Similarly, our Asset Forfeiture Unit continues to provide training to their counterparts on the African continent.

Mr President,

As we move towards the second review cycle, we must consolidate and build on the gains achieved in the first cycle and addressing the challenges encountered. These include amongst others, encouraging non-responsive States Parties to fully cooperate in the implementation of the review process and upon request, extend technical assistance to those in need. 

In conclusion Mr President, South Africa looks forward to the launch of the second review cycle, which as agreed should focus on Prevention and Asset Recovery, including both mandatory and non-mandatory provisions. While drawing appropriate lessons from the first review cycle, the second cycle should retain the guiding principles and characteristics embodied in the review mechanism. It must remain intergovernmental in nature, non-intrusive, non-punitive, and not create any form of ranking amongst States Parties.

While we acknowledge limited financial resources to fulfil the requirements of the review mechanism, South Africa believes that the core activities of the review mechanism should be funded from the regular budget.  This will ensure sustainability, predictability and objectivity of the review mechanism. 

Thank you!

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