SAIPA to become first accounting institute to sign new anti-corruption pledge
The South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) becomes the first professional accountancy body to sign the Anti-Corruption Pledge of the Collaborative Stakeholder Movement (CSM). The CSM is a non-governmental organisation that provides a platform for constructive engagement between diverse leaders and stakeholders in South Africa to promote inclusive economic growth and to unlock South Africa’s abundant potential.
“SAIPA is delighted to be the first professional accountancy body to demonstrate its support for the CSM campaign by signing the pledge,” says SAIPA chairperson Shirley Olsen. “This is our way of publicly showing that we as a professional body are committed to using all our resources and influence to help South Africa stamp out corruption.”
Olsen signed the pledge on behalf of the Institute’s members during SAIPA’s annual Budget Speech function on 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. Corruption not only affects the public sector, but it also involves the private sector. Both sectors need to work together to combat corruption in the country. “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 all stakeholders, including business partners, government, labour, civil society, statutory organisations, clients, vendors, members, associates and staff to combat bribery, fraud and corruption.
“As professional accountants, we often uncover or witness such illegal practices and how they are covered up. As a professional body, SAIPA commits to ensuring that its members will not engage in acts of bribery, fraud or corruption, whether directly or indirectly. As professionals, that is something that 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 provides 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 law-making,” she says.
Reporting on and confronting individuals and organisations that approach us to participate in any acts of bribery, fraud or corruption is part of our pledge. “SAIPA members already follow a strict international code of ethics that condemns such behaviour in the strongest terms,” she explains. “Given the expertise of our members, they are in a unique position to play a powerful role in stopping corruption in its tracks, especially where we work with government in supporting its financial operations.”
“Rarely does corruption have no witnesses outside of the primary agents. We, as SAIPA, are saying that if we come across any form of corruption, bribery or fraud, we will do all that we can to root it out. That is our commitment to building our country on a clean, stable foundation,” she says. “We pledge our devotion to provoking and inspiring South Africans to work together to fight against these evils, so that all citizens can live and work in a free and fair economy.”
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.”