R675bn lost to graft since 1994 - expert
Cape Town - It seems as though South Africa could be losing the fight against corruption.
Paul Hoffman, director of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, has warned that the estimated R675bn lost to corruption since 1994 could be just the beginning.
Hoffman said this in a presentation on the impact of corruption and inequality at the Towards Carnegie 3 conference at the University of Cape Town, Die Burger newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Hoffman based the figure of R675bn on government's admission that the economy loses R30bn per year to corrupt activities.
The disclosure elicited visible shock among conference goers. Some spoke of a war between values enshrined in the constitution and those set out in the ANC's national democratic revolution.
Questioned over losses to corruption which cannot be measured in money, such as government credibility in the eyes of the public, he affirmed the relevance of this type of damage.
Hoffman said the energy that goes into covering up corruption in for example the arms deal creates "permanent structural damage" to the country. "The R675bn is just the beginning," Die Burger quoted him as saying.
According to Hoffman, the government's efforts to stop corruption are not only insufficient but also trip up its ability to finance social welfare, which could be used to alleviate poverty.
If tender fraud and corruption could be eradicated, that would already make an extra R30bn available for social upliftment, said Hoffman.
He also said clean civil service governance could act as a buffer against corruption if conducted according to the values set out in the constitution, but these values are practically dead.
Instead, there is cadre deployment "which is not only illegal but unsustainable".
Cadre deployment automatically leads to a conflict of interest, as cadres hang on to their jobs at any cost, said Hoffman.
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