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New Bacsa to support business, govt collaboration in fight against crime, corruption

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New Bacsa to support business, govt collaboration in fight against crime, corruption

protestors protesting corruption
Photo by Reuters

5th February 2024

By: Darren Parker
Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

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Industry body Business Against Crime South Africa (Bacsa) has been confirmed as the primary point of contact for business interaction with government on crime and corruption through government structures, including the National Priority Crime Operational Committee (NPCOC).

This signals an important phase of Bacsa’s development as a vehicle to deliver Business for South Africa’s (B4SA’s) initiatives aimed at mitigating crime and corruption. 

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This comes amid estimates that crime costs the economy at least 10% of gross domestic product every year, according to a recently published World Bank report.

Established in 1996 in response to a request from then President Nelson Mandela for business to join government in the fight against crime, Bacsa has supported the government’s anti-crime efforts across the criminal justice system and with businesses large and small across the country.

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Bacsa operated as a division of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) since June 1, 2020, until recently, but has now been established as a separate legal entity following BLSA board approval. 

This is what has paved the way for Bacsa to become the primary point of contact for the government's interaction with B4SA’s Crime and Corruption focal area, which is co-chaired by Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman and Remgro CEO Jannie Durand. The joint initiative between business and government will be operationalised through the NPCOC.

A new board was appointed to reflect Bacsa's new status, with Dr Graham Wright officially appointed CEO on November 1 last year, bringing extensive experience in crime risk mitigation, including his previous experience as Bacsa CEO between 2009 and 2012.

“[Bacsa] is set to become a more unifying and powerful force in the fight against crime and corruption. We have a clear vision to urgently reassert the primacy of the rule of law by supporting authorities to actively tackle rampant crime and corruption. We will do this by leveraging business resources and expertise to help create a safer South Africa and restoring public and investor confidence in the country,” Wright said.

Joining Froneman and Durand on the new Bacsa board are BLSA CEO Busisiwe Mavuso, Business Unity South Africa CEO Cas Coovadia, Pick n Pay chairperson Gareth Ackerman and Standard Bank South Africa CEO Lungisa Fuzile, all of whom will play crucial roles in guiding Bacsa's strategy and ensuring its success.

The organisation will continue to rely on BLSA for administrative support and will remain located in BLSA’s offices for the foreseeable future.

“While the scale of crime and corruption in South Africa may make any victory seem inconsequential, Bacsa, while a division of BLSA, accomplished an enormous amount in partnership with the private sector and members of the criminal justice system, often under the most difficult of circumstances. 

“Much of this was made possible by BLSA members and other private sector donors . . . We look forward to seeing Bacsa play an even greater role in rooting out crime and corruption in South Africa,” Mavuso said.

Some of the work undertaken by Bacsa in recent years includes projects aimed at capacitating the National Prosecuting Authority, an initiative to tackle the rapid rise of the “construction mafia” around the country, and the Eyes and Ears Initiative. 

Progress has also been made in the capacity enhancement of State agencies through the provision of specialist skills and resources resident in business and typically not readily accessible to these State agencies.

The primary goals of the new Bacsa are to strengthen collaboration and partnerships between the business sector and government agencies in addressing priority crimes; optimise existing business anti-crime efforts; scale the extensive work already under way across sectors; and mobilise the broader support and involvement in anti-crime efforts across society. 

The organisation will continue to leverage business information, expertise and resources to support priority initiatives of the NPCOC which focus on serious organised and commercial crime and serious corruption.

Bacsa will continue to build on the success its Eyes and Ears initiative, which relies on collaboration with the South African Police Service and the private security industry to coordinate operational responses to crime. 

This work has averted numerous incidents of crime and resulted in hundreds of arrests and the recovery of stolen vehicles, among other successes.

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