In its quest of ensuring that a just war is waged against the scourge of corruption, which hinders improving the quality of life, Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) has partnered with acclaimed academic and advocate, Dr Janette Minnaar-van Veijeren to present an ANTI-CORRUPTION, CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND ETHICS course to their members and any other organisation wanting to be part of the solution.
Dr Minnaar says that anti-competitive market behaviour, corrupt practices, corporate irregularities and unethical behaviour have a significantly negative impact on the professional service delivery, reputation and, ultimately, profit of companies in the built environment. New local and international laws call for a recommitment to sound anti-corruption principles and ethical behaviour by company directors, senior officers and managers.
The adoption and implementation of the South African Companies Act of 2008 introduces a higher level of accountability for company directors and echoes international standard-setting guidelines. The Act places onerous duties on directors (and prescribed officers) and requires them to illustrate that they acted with care, skill, and diligence and with good faith in managing the affairs of their company in a responsible way. If a bribe is paid by a senior company officer, directors may jointly and severally be held criminally liable in their personal capacity.
The 2009 King III Corporate Governance Report and Code, prescribes the adoption of an ethics-management programme in order to build a climate of honesty and to maintain a culture of integrity. It is the duty of the company Board to ensure that ethics is actively managed and failure to do so may lead to legal liability. These requirements are echoed in the UK Bribery Act of 2008.
The course is designed tomeet legislative demands and to protect and build the reputation of the construction industry and in particular, CESA member organisations. The training will greatly assist to embed ethical values and empower participants to understand what corruption is, how to avoid risks and what universal values demand, from every delegate. Companies will gain a competitive advantage in the market place if they comply with international legislation and best practice models as well as setting an example of ethical conduct, thereby increasing investor confidence in the organisation.
It also seeks to promote sustainability in the construction sector through good governance practices, as well as increase transparency, accountability and demonstrating corporate and CESA values.
CESA is on record proposing that all leaders, whether they are business leaders, political leaders or spiritual leaders, be selected according to their ethical balance. Qualities such as IQ (intelligence quotient), EQ (emotional intelligence) and PhQ (your physical quotient) should be taken as given.
CESA President Naren Bhojaram avers that a sustainable future depends on our ability to put leaders in place with the highest ethical balance.
Dr Minnaar outlines that ethical leaders have a strong personal character and follow robust principles, allowing them to define a path and lead others along it. Leaders need to get involved and get to ‘know what they don’t know’ and be part of the solution, not the problem. Every leader has an obligation to contribute and to be proactive in building a country with healthy values where business can flourish to the
benefit of all stakeholders.