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Media Advisory: SAHRC to host Business Transparency Conference

06 June 2013

ATTENTION: Editors and Reporters

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will at the end of this month bring a number of business experts together at a Conference to discuss the role and relevance of transparency for the business sector. The conference will discuss a number of issues which will be developed into a report and shared with business stakeholders and government to craft a national action plan for South Africa in the implementation of the recommended UN guiding principles on business and human rights which was recently released as a guide to states and businesses on their roles and responsibilities on human rights issues.

A recently released research report by Global Financial Integrity stated that South Africa has suffered an illegal outflow of over R185-billion due to corruption in both the public and private sectors since 1994. In 2011, the former Special Investigating Unit (SIU) reported to the Parliament of South Africa that between R25-billion and R30-billion of government’s annual procurement budget alone was lost to corruption. The Competition Commission is currently investigating over R29-billion worth of projects in the construction sector alone for bid-rigging abuse of public tenders by 21 companies. The cost of doing business in South Africa has risen exponentially due to the adverse effects of corruption with significant impacts on the lives and livelihoods of South Africans.

In addressing these issues, as a starting point, the Commission would like to focus on the narrow issue of business and corporate transparency. We believe that this engagement and conversation with the business sector should start off in a conference where government, business and civil society share experiences and ideas in terms of various themes including the importance of transparency for economic development and managing risks to attract foreign and domestic investment, access to information, right to privacy and confidentiality, whistle blowing, ethics, corporate social responsibility, among others.

The SAHRC, through its unit dealing with the Promotion of Access to Information Act, saw the need to develop a fuller understanding of the ways in which different anti-corruption, business and transparency strategies are perceived and utilized by companies. This business, transparency and human rights conference is proposed to achieve these objectives.

The Business and Transparency conference will be held on Thursday 27th June 2013, at the Sandton Convention Centre. It starts at 08h30.

Minister in the Presidency for National Planning Commission: Mr Trevor Manuel will deliver the keynote address.

Issued by Isaac Mangena

Head of Communications at the SAHRC

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]

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