I welcome the announcement that the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference is to be held in South Africa. The South African Government and the Department of Justice are fully behind it. We are pleased to host the 9th Conference of the Council and Transparency International (TI), and will ensure to the best of our abilities that the conference will be a success.
I also want to take the opportunity to send my felicitous greetings to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Malaysian government and its people, on whose soil this announcement is being made.
In early November this year, the South African Government is organising a National Anti-Corruption Conference involving all the major stakeholders in the Country. This is a clear indication of the high priority that the government gives to the matter of fighting corruption on all levels in our society.
I want to congratulate the Council and Transparency International for the vigour with which they pursue the battle against corruption on an international level. At all stages in the history of a peoples development there are those handful of far-sighted people, endowed with a moral vision, who foresee problems of the future, well ahead of the rest of society. The group around the Council and TI are of such an ilk.
Today it is commonly realized that corruption and its links to organised crime constitutes a grave danger to the stability, security and moral health of nations and civil society in general. Its threat on this basis is so great that governments are forced to combat it on a regional and international basis and to co-ordinate their efforts accordingly. A number of drastic pieces of legislation have been passed by governments in various countries, including extradition treaties, ratification of various international conventions, and so on, to address the problem in a serious manner. Corruption and its links to organised crime, run by efficient criminal syndicates, is becoming increasingly difficult to separate.
I note that the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference has as one of its major themes the broadening of our understanding of corruption. This is apt. In this way it will improve on the proceedings of the last one, held in Peru, and which resulted in the Lima Declaration.
Corruption today with its international tentacles reaching into every aspect of our lives needs to be understood more broadly and deeply, especially since it attempts to penetrate government structures, local authorities, parastatals, the police, the business community and so on.
I do not think that we can de-link it from a just socio-economic order that we are trying to create on a global scale, from the effect of an uncontrolled market and even more broadly from the need to inspire a moral vision in society in an era that is increasingly characterised by moral disintegration.
Ultimately, I am convinced, the struggle against corruption is a moral issue. It is why civil society, the people, must be the ultimate guardians against corruption in both the public and private sector. The whole of society must become whistle blowers.
The delegates to the 9th International Anti-Corruption Confernce will be welcome in my country. We will be good hosts to them. I want to wish the Conference every success and hope that the arrangements for it go smoothly.