Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF)



Country: South Africa
Website: https://hsf.org.za
Focal Point: Francis Antonie, Director
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Social media: Facebook, Twitter
Tel: +27 11 482 2872 / +27 71 287 9732

General description of your work in the prevention of and the fight against corruption

The HSF’s work in the fight against corruption takes three forms: research and advocacy, submissions to Parliament, and litigation.

Litigation: The HSF has been involved in litigation to uphold the institutional independence of various anti-corruption agencies. These included acting as amicus curiae in a case concerning the independence of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), an agency established to supplement the efforts of existing law enforcement agencies in addressing organised crime. Its submissions based on the obligations imposed by the UNCAC were accepted by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that the legislation establishing the DPCI did not meet the requirements of independence in terms of international law and was constitutionally invalid. The HSF was an applicant in a subsequent case impugning the constitutional validity of various provisions in the DPCI’s constitutive legislation on the basis that the DPCI was still insufficiently independent.

Other cases in which the HSF was involved in support of anti-corruption institutions include:

  • The review of a decision appointing the head of the DPCI, on the basis that he was unfit to hold this position due to demonstrated lack of integrity;
  • Several cases regarding the constitutional validity of provisions in the constitutive legislation for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which concerned the powers to remove the Executive Director and to renew his/her term of office;
  • A case regarding the setting aside of the unlawful agreement between the President and the head of the National Prosecuting Authority regarding the latter’s removal in exchange for an unlawful gratification; and
  • An application to review and set aside a series of unlawful, improper and/or corrupt exercises of public power at energy parastatal Eskom. Details of these cases are available at https://hsf.org.za/litigation.

Submissions: The HSF has made submissions to Parliament during the drafting process for the Political Party Funding Act, which concerns the disclosure of donors to political parties. This was with the view to enhancing transparency and root out corruption within political partiers. It has also made submissions relating to executive appointment, suspension, removal, and renewal powers with regards tpo the head of IPID. This is to ensure the independence of this institution from political interference.

Research and Advocacy: The HSF regularly conducts research into and issues publications concerning inter alia:

  • Procedures for the appointment and removal of heads of anti-corruption agencies;
  • Whistle-blower protections;
  • The National Anti-Corruption Strategy and national dialogue about anti-corruption measures; and
  • Illicit financial flows and the involvement of professional services in facilitating corruption.

It also hosts roundtables and symposia relating to these and other anti-corruption topics, facilitating broad public engagement with these issues.

The HSF is a member of the recently-formed Reference Group for the National Anti- Corruption Strategy.

The beneficiaries of its work are the South African public, who draw benefit from the upholding of the Constitution and the rule of law, as well as the protection of anti- corruption institutions.

The HSF has been recognised for its work by the award of the Silver Prize in the Integrity category of the Gauteng Premier Service Excellence Awards, as well as the Bunnahabhain Humanitarian Award.

Describe your organisation’s work linked with the UN Convention against Corruption

The HSF has, through its litigation, ensured compliance with the UNCAC by advocating for compliance with its provisions in the Constitutional Court in the Glenister and Helen Suzman Foundation cases relating to the establishment of the DPCI, described above. A member of the HSF’s Board of Trustees, Dr Max du Plessis, is a senior advocate specialising in international law and frequently argues in court on behalf of the HSF. He ensures that the international law perspective is brought to bear on the HSF’s submissions in court, particularly with reference to its anti-corruption litigation.

The HSF’s published research also takes into account the obligations contained in the UNCAC and other international protocols and treaties.

A global civil society network promoting the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)