South Africa has enacted the Judicial Matters Amendment Act, which introduces a significant provision targeting corruption, particularly in the aftermath of the Zondo Commission‘s findings on state capture during the presidency of Jacob Zuma. This provision has been incorporated into the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 2004 (PRECCA) and establishes a “failure to prevent corruption” offence. 

iFacts’ legal advisor, Lindi Kotze, has analysed this offence and has provided commentary.

Summary of the New Provision

The Amendment Act notably introduces a strict liability offence for businesses that fail to prevent acts of corruption by persons associated with them. This means that businesses can now be held legally responsible for corruption committed by their employees or partners unless they can prove that they had implemented “adequate procedures” to prevent corruption. 

This concept of strict liability for failing to prevent corruption marks a significant shift from the previous corporate criminal liability framework under the Criminal Procedure Act.

Implications for Businesses

Businesses are advised to urgently review and strengthen their anti-corruption procedures to comply with the new law. The law aligns with international best practices, such as those detailed in the UK Bribery Act, which offers guidance on preventing bribery through effective management of associated persons, including employees and contractors. 

Analysis of UK Bribery Act Principles

The introduction of the Judicial Matters Amendment Act signifies a robust step towards combating corruption in South Africa. However, the success of this law largely depends on the South African state’s ability to enforce it effectively, particularly within the context of historical challenges in prosecuting high-profile corruption cases. 

Companies must proactively adapt to this new legal landscape by implementing comprehensive anti-corruption measures, guided by successful international practices such as those outlined in the UK Bribery Act. This approach will not only help in complying with the new legal requirements but also in fostering a culture of integrity and transparency within the organisational framework.

This may seem laborious, however, iFacts can assist with many of the facets necessary for organisations to become and remain compliant with this legislature. We offer thorough background checks and screening options that will make implementation easier.

Hire with iFacts, hire with confidence. 

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