The Southern African Forum Against Corruption (SAFAC) is a network of anti-corruption bodies where such exist or representatives of Governments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
SAFAC was born out of a resolution of policy makers from the (SADC) after a roundtable meeting in 2002, on the need to create a network of anti-corruption agencies, which would be a regional body for the purposes of mutual cooperation in combating corruption, economic crime and other related offences.
SAFAC’s aim is to build the capacity of anti-corruption agencies in the SADC region to develop effective strategies to fight corruption and at the same time create synergies with various other stakeholders working in the area of anti-corruption.
SAFAC has been very instrumental over the past years in lobbying SADC states for the ratification of the SADC Protocol against Corruption, which efforts yielded positive results when the protocol entered into force on the 6th of July 2005. These efforts are in response to the growing concerns of the SAFAC Members on the dangerous effects that corruption and other economic crimes can have on society, its prevalence in the southern African region and that corruption and economic crime can lead to capital flight, misallocation of resources and an increase in poverty. SAFAC members further acknowledge that corruption undermines good governance and that it is trans-boundary in nature hence the need for coordinated regional efforts to deal with the scourge.
SAFAC is managed by a Management Committee. The Management Committee is administered by a Secretariat which is headed by a Secretary General and is currently located in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Secretary General reports to the Management Committee which consists of six members and the current members are Tanzania (which is chairing), Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, However, the Secretariat is still not that well resourced for effective and efficient administration of SAFAC and the Management Committee is still mobilising resources to have a fully fledged and well resourced Secretariat. The Management Committee is responsible for the provision and oversight of administration of SAFAC and the efficient running of all SAFAC structures.
The programme that SAFAC has in the past few years been implementing on fighting corruption in the SADC has been tackled in a number of phases. The first phase was standards setting and the output of this was the development of the SADC Protocol against Corruption (“the SADC Protocol”). The second phase was the adoption of the SADC Protocol by the SADC states and getting them to ratify it, as well as to set up mechanisms within their countries for the fight against corruption to be successful. This is an ongoing process.
Activities that have so far been implemented under SAFAC have had concrete results and successes and these include the setting up of anti-corruption agencies. To date, eleven out of the fifteen SADC member countries have established these anti corruption agencies. Other successes include the strengthening of anti-corruption legislation and researching on corruption by a number of countries; the ratification of major instruments on anti-corruption by SADC countries, including the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Corruption; training activities that were conducted both at regional level and at the national level by SAFAC members; engagement with the private sector that has led to the establishment of the Business Action Against Corruption (BAAC) that was launched in southern Africa and has since spread to other regions on the continent.
The overarching goal of the SAFAC in the first phase of its programming was to influence regional policy development in the area of governance. The SADC Protocol is now in force and there is an implementation plan in place that was adopted by SADC on 22nd April 2004, in Tanzania.
The focus of the next five year phase shall be to support the implementation of the SADC Regional Anti-Corruption Programme (SRACP), a framework which provides for the implementation of the SADC Protocol by SADC countries. The implementation of the SRACP was scheduled to commence in 2005, but has since lagged behind, pending the establishment of the SADC Anti-Corruption Committee (SACC), whose main role shall be to oversee the implementation of the SRACP. In the next phase therefore, the activities of SAFAC will focus on training and capacity building for anti-corruption institutions to fight corruption at both the national and regional levels in the areas of prevention, investigation, prosecution, public education, mutual legal assistance, asset recovery and other specialised areas yet to be identified through a training needs assessment yet to be carried out with each member of SAFAC. It is important to note that through SAFAC, the implementation of some of the regional interventions contained in SRACP has been on going and the next phase of the programme seeks to continue with this process. Some of these interventions include increased information sharing on best practice in corruption prevention and information on corruption trends; increased mutual legal assistance and judicial cooperation; promotion and support for the ratification of the SADC Protocol against Corruption; identification of capacity building measures for national anti-corruption agencies and co-operation with the African Union and United Nations and other relevant institutions in support of the fight against corruption.