Eradicating corruption: key takeaways

Mohamed Amersi, Founder and CEO of Emergent Telecom Ventures and Head of the Amersi Foundation welcomed the start of the session and firstly addressed Former Public Protector of South Africa, Advocate Thuli Madonsela to the stage to provide her insights and take questions from delegates, Farai MubaiwaKhanya Mkoto and Tefo Mokhine.

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Thuli Madonsela

Corruption undermines democracy

Advocate Thuli Madonsela has spent her career protecting the integrity of South Africa’s parliamentary republic.

She addressed the role that corruption and bribery play in undermining democratic values and the extent to which corrupt systems penalise poorer people the hardest.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela expressed, "We have a big problem of corruption in the world and in South Africa - it is not in the culture but a systemic problem.

She provided three key ways to eliminate corruption. Firstly, to ensure we choose the right people, who are leaders, but more importantly lead well. Secondly, to lead a civil society with transparency, and lastly, to use social media in global ways.

She pleaded, "Young people should use technology to hold governments accountable.”

She added, “They need to send strong messages to those who want to govern that say that if you don't end corruption, we will not vote for you."

Can business lead to ethics?

The next speaker, Emmanuel Lulin, L'Oréal's Chief Ethics Officer explained why integration of ethics in every aspect of business is the only way companies can guarantee sustainability and maintain competitive advantage.

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Emmanuel Lulin

"There are three principles to ethics: integrity, respect, and courage," he explained.

Concentrating on the positive side of ethics, rather than the negative side of law, Emmanuel Lulin believes, “ethics can be a powerful force for change.”

He added, "The law is no longer the framework for decision making - it is too slow."

The role that young leaders can play in encouraging institutions to become more ethical and the empowering effect of ethical leadership is powerful.

He closed his address to say, "Do not let anyone dictate your ethical standards. If you believe in it, do it."

The freedom to tell the truth

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman, revealed her passion for the work she does alongside her group, Women Journalists’ Without Chains. She touched upon how the Arab Spring Revolutions emerged as an expression of people’s dissatisfaction with the state of oppression, corruption, nepotism and bribery.

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Tawakkol Karman

She urged, "If we want to fight corruption, we need a strong constitution, stable institutions and strict laws."

She added, "Talking about corruption is also talking about our dreams to have a democratic state."

Every state needs to put into place legislation that tackles corruption and promotes transparency, she explained.

"To make a revolution we need people with their eyes wide open," she added.

Mohamed Amersi brought the session to a close with a passionate appeal to the crowd to act in a way which defends human dignity, respect and tolerance.

This article was written by Elinor Jane Stephens. She is a Magazine Journalist, trained at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC).