The South African Institute for Professional Accountants, SAIPA, will later this month become the first professional body for accountants to sign the Collaborative Stakeholder Movement’s (CSM) Anti-Corruption Pledge. The CSM provides a platform for constructive engagement between diverse leaders and stakeholders around common causes.
“We are delighted to be one of the first leading organisations to demonstrate our support for the CSM campaign by signing the pledge,” says SAIPA chairperson Shirley Olsen.
“This is our way of saying, publically, that we as a professional body are committed to using all of our resources and influence to help lead South Africa in stamping out corruption.”
Olsen will sign the pledge on behalf of members during SAIPA”s annual Budget Speech function at 18:00 on Wednesday 25 February at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Earlier this year, the South African Board of People Practices became the first human resources body to sign the pledge.
“We are delighted that private sector organisations are taking the lead in saying no to corruption through such a partnership,” says Olsen.
The pledge commits SAIPA to engaging with any and all stakeholders, including business, government, labour, civil society, statutory organisations, clients, vendors, partners, associates and staff to combat bribery, fraud and corruption.
“As professional accountants, we are at the very coalface of where such illegal practices take place – and are covered up. To this end SAIPA, as a professional body, commits that its members will not engage in acts of bribery, fraud or corruption, whether directly or indirectly. That’s what we will not do. But what we will do is also of great importance.”
In terms of the pledge, SAIPA undertakes to promote initiatives and support legislation that provide effective safeguarding to anti-corruption whistle-blowers in the private-, public- and non-profit sectors. “This fits well with what we already do as a trusted advisor to government when it comes to submissions on lawmaking,” she says.
The pledge also requires its signatories to endeavour to report on and confront individuals and organisations that approach us to participate in any acts of bribery, fraud or corruption.
“In terms of this, SAIPA members already follow a strict international code that condemns such behaviour in the strongest terms.”
“Given the expertise of our members, especially where we work with government in supporting its financial operations, we are aware that we as professional accountants are in a unique position to play a powerful role in stopping corruption in its tracks,” she says.
“Rarely does corruption have no witnesses outside of the primary agents. We, as SAIPA, are saying that if we come across it, we will do all that we can to root it out. That is our commitment to building our country on a clean, stable foundation.”
Quoting part of the pledge, Olsen concludes: “As a Catalyst for Collaboration, SAIPA is a face for positive change in South Africa. We are an active ambassador for realising the collective dream of a thriving country, one in which all citizens are sustainably employed in a land void of the challenges fashioned by bribery, fraud and corruption.
“We pledge our devotion to provoking and inspiring South Africans to work together to fight against these evils, so that all citizens may live and work in a free and fair economy.”
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