by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – AN executive believes technology can help in the fight against rampant corruption in South Africa.
The sentiments by Nonduduzo Mkhize come as Africa’s most industrialised, technologically advanced and diversified economy battles the scourge of which much is linked to inappropriate procurement and contracts.
Mkhize, the Associate Account Executive: Public Sector at SAS South Africa, said both at a national and provincial level, government faced significant challenges in managing and interrogating data that would reveal unscrupulous or corrupt practices.
“Keeping track of the disbursement of public funds is a Herculean task. Intelligent technology is an essential enabler to government in this challenge,” she said.
For example, each disbursement of public funds creates new data and leverages existing data relating to the particular transaction, which means the accountability of funds must be traced from the source to the recipient.
This historic data needs to be leveraged every time a new transaction is generated in order to identify any links to previous suspect or confirmed fraudulent pay-outs.
Analytics helps to enable these checks automatically and can generate an alert should anything suspicious be identified.
Mkhize said data could also drive intelligent decision-making.
“Using the right tools, the right software and the right technology, it’s possible to consolidate disparate data sources.”
In addition to the key role of data and analytics in detecting fraud, technology can be employed to ensure good stewardship of revenue collection, to make sure that the money is spent responsibly and for maximum impact.
“It can be used to detect wasteful spending to gain a realistic and holistic view of departmental spending, on a national and provincial level,” Mkhize said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged aggressive and sustained efforts to stamp out corruption, which has worsened under the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mkhize said the president expected a quick response to the corruption crisis, technology could play a crucial role.
“While digital transformation is certainly not possible overnight, the current crisis offers a golden opportunity to accelerate digital innovation and the adoption of new ways of work,” she said.
– CAJ News