It’s a Cruel Worldby Brandon Edmonds, image by Conrad Botes / 06.11.2009
Another installment of our Mahala series on South Africa’s top 10 crimes.
A 2007 Price-Waterhouse-Coopers global economic crime survey found that South Africa had the highest number of affected companies. Money laundering, bribery and fraud apparently abound here like nowhere else on earth. ‘White collar’ crime is certainly keeping pace with bloodier variations of transgression, spurred on by weak accountancy controls, murky corporate ethics, greed, expensive lifestyles and deep career frustration. A staggering 72% of companies polled experienced an economic crime over 2005-2007 which meant around R600 million smackers purloined from the economy. White collar crime was 200% higher locally than the global average. Confirming that social rot goes all the way to the top, the survey indicates that “figureheads in SA businesses are responsible for 17% of all reported cases” and that “most frauds tend to be risk-takers, very decisive, extroverted, career or success oriented individuals… paradoxically traits that are so highly prized in management recruitment.” The moral distance between an MBA sporting fraudster and a gun-toting illiterate car-jacker has never been slimmer. They’re two sides of the same amoral coin in a business culture that rewards risk.
Image © and courtesy Conrad Botes