Business is the most corrupt element of SA society, says SNG's Peter Goss

Most people incorrectly think that corruption is primarily a public sector problem, said Peter Goss, MD of SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) Advisory and lead SNG corporate governance expert, speaking at Finance Indaba Africa on 12 October 2017.

In fact, Peter believes that 'business' is the most corrupt element of South African society. The only difference is that when corruption is discovered in the private sector, it is described as negligence and unethical conduct, he said. But it is just as unsavoury, if not more prevalent, than the unscrupulous looting of state coffers so often read about in newspapers. In his opinion, corruption is so entrenched that it is commonplace.

He said:

"This beast of unethical conduct finds its home in the business sector. Businesses make a living through it. When you look at everything that makes you uncomfortable about South Africa's environment right now, and you point your finger in the direction of the politicians, you conveniently ignore that, on the other side is not a family or two or three, it's the entire business sector."

As a case in point, he referred to the construction sector's collusion scandal when the Competition Commission found in 2014 that the country's largest construction firms had colluded to fixing the prices of tenders for the construction of stadiums for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, resulting in the state (and the South African taxpayer) being overcharged by billions of dollars.

"Have we ever heard of a CEO or a director being arrested or charged with something in regards to that particular matter? No, we haven't. Instead, the companies paid something like R1.4 billion as a fine after having colluded to collect R50 billion worth in tenders. What a beautiful deal," he said.