Many multinationals are in the same boat — as are banks, accountants and lawyers co-responsible for state capture
The news that SAP has been zapped under the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for its Gupta-era bribery and corruption may shame the current leadership of the company into paying reparations to SA and the state-owned enterprises it pillaged.
The larger picture suggests there are many multinationals in the same boat as SAP — banks, accountants and lawyers who are co-responsible for curating the state capture project, which has done and continues to do so much harm to the SA economy. Obviously, state capture and corruption generally prejudice the prospects of the poor and marginalised ever getting suitable education and dignified work.
The role of the criminal justice administration in bringing SAP to book is commendable, and will no doubt flourish once the nontrial resolution of corruption matters is properly formalised in SA. Such resolutions have been long discussed in the SA anticorruption fraternity, and are likely to capture the attention of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council when it reports in February.
If the reparations recovered and to be recovered, as well as the fines paid by SAP already, are used to revitalise the state’s anticorruption capacity, preferably by the establishment of a new independent constitutionally compliant entity that is fully equipped and capacitated to prevent, combat, investigate and prosecute serious corruption, we may yet emerge as a peaceful, prosperous society in which human dignity for all is respected and our guaranteed human rights are fulfilled through proper service delivery by the state.
The promotion of the achievement of equality is a constitutional goal that remains unattainable while the state is being stolen blind by those who loot its coffers in a frenzy of greed and self-interest. Corruption in SA is theft from the poor. As judge Navi Pillay once observed, corruption is a killer.
Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now