What R30 Billion in Corruption cost South Africans:

July 23, 2012


Government Fraud and Corruption estimated to cost R30 Billion annually.

Is this a taxpayers problem only, or does it affect the poor? Who exactly pays the ultimate price for mis-appropriation, mis-spending, fraud and corruption? Just how much does R30 Billion actually cost us? Here are a few examples: 

ACDP Infographic


Responding to a parliamentary question issued by MP Kenneth Meshoe, The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reported that the extent of fraud and corruption in the state procurement process is estimated to be up to R25- to R30-billion per year. The SIU is tasked with investigating corruption and maladministration, as well as instituting civil proceedings to recover losses. “Whilst the government has adopted many polices and task teams to fight corruption, it doesn’t seem to be helping. In order to combat corruption, the personnel and capacity of the SIU needs to be expanded. Allied law enforcement agencies such as the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit also require capacity increases. The state needs to improve auditing processes, provide adequate protection for whistleblowers and make sure that Director Generals are held accountable for losses” Said Meshoe.

Systemic poverty cannot be eradicated without eradicating systemic corruption.” Steve Swart, ACDP MP said during the Budget speeches in the National Treasury. “How could we reach the point that highly effective units, such as the SIU, have severe funding difficulties, and had to reduce staff, when they play such a crucial role in not only stopping fraud and corruption, but also recovering misappropriated state funds?” The ACDP commends the Special Investigating Unit for the sterling work it and other investigative units are doing to combat corruption despite many restrictions. It is imperative that the Special Investigating Unit’s enabling legislation is amended to give it full locus standi to bring civil cases to recover stolen funds. We cannot allow DG’s to block or delay such actions, as presently could be the case where a DG, who has locus standi, does not act quickly enough. Additionally, the unit must be fully funded to conduct its work efficiently. At present, departments pay for the unit to investigate its financial affairs. We can’t have the situation where a government department is not investigated by the unit due to a lack of funding; this particularly in view of the austerity measures government departments are required to implement. Steve was also outraged at the revelation of a “sustained campaign of intimidation against top National Prosecution Authority anti-corruption prosecutor, Adv Glynnis Breyetnbach, including being shot at, almost being driven off the road, still being followed, and now being suspended.” He said that: “Prosecutors must be able to perform their tasks without fear, favour or prejudice”

For many rural communities, not much has changed in the 18 years that South Africa has been a democratic country. Up to 40% of South Africans live in rural regions, many of which do not have access to vital resources such as water and electricity or means of employment. The government should be working harder to address the issues of the poor, those in informal settlements without housing and those who do not have access to a good education, those who don’t have access to clean water or sanitation, and addressing corruption is one of the more effective strategies that the government could adopt to make budgets available for poverty alleviation.
In many cases, fraud and corruption also arises out of budgets that have been directly set aside to address issues relating to the poor. ACDP MPP in KZN, Jo-Ann Downs says that: “Basically, unscrupulous individuals have used the plight of the poor, unemployed, aged, orphaned, mentally handicapped or otherwise disempowered citizens as a front for siphoning millions in government funding. In other cases, the government funding has been recklessly squandered by people who have absconded once their poorly planned projects nosedived.”
Last year, Jo-Ann was shocked to learn of a resolution adopted by the premiers of all nine provinces 5 years ago, prevents action against civil servants that have obtained social grants illegally. Civil servants are being allowed to pay these back under a “loan” agreement, where no interest or fee’s are incurred. “This policy sent out the message that corruption is okay. It means you just have to pay it back, and it is right. What stops other servants from also doing it, and (when caught) saying ‘we will pay it back’?” she asked.
Many people, especially the poor, think that corruption does not affect them and that it is not their problem. To put things in perspective, just what did R30 Billion in corruption cost South Africans in one year? If that 30 Billion was allocated to one budget item to address one issue, how far could it have gone? Just what did 30 Billion cost the poor?


*Piped Water to 2.3 Million rural homes…(Learn More)

*12000 New Rural Schools…(Learn More)

*230000 Social Workers for the implementation of the Childrens Act… (Learn More)

*51 Million RDP Houses… (Learn More)

*R26 Billion Strategy for reduction and treatment of HIV and TB infections…(Learn more)

*Pay for the 20 Million in debt associated with the e-tolling in Gauteng… (Learn More)


These are just some of the issues that could have been addressed with the R30 Billion lost to fraud and corruption. It is clear that corruption affects each and every citizen of South Africa and we need to hold our government accountable. The current government has not taken a stand on this issue. The ACDP is committed to systematically rooting out corruption, but we need your help. We need you to give us your mandate in the form of a vote.

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