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Join us and become a corruption fighter

The Corruption Watch team is small, but dedicated. Our people are excited about the work they do, and proud that they’re helping to take South Africa forward. Our task is often challenging, but always rewarding. If you’re looking for an inspirational environment and work that truly makes a difference, contact us.

We currently have the following opportunities

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Call for Consultancy
Research into Land, Mining and Traditional Communities

 

Background

Corruption Watch (CW) is a non-profit organisation launched in January 2012. The organisation uses the reports of corruption from the public as an important source of information to fight corruption and hold leaders accountable for their actions. CW exposes corruption through communications platforms and mobilises the public to take a stand against corruption and the abuse of public funds. An important area of CW’s work is in the extractives sector with a focus on examining the risks and vulnerabilities in mining licensing processes – when mining licenses, contracts and permits are awarded – which give rise to corruption.

A key risk CW has identified at the initial stage of the value chain is the intersection of the exercise of land rights and the exercise of mining rights so as to ensure economic mobility of land right holders. This is most evident with the vulnerable legal framework related to meaningful community engagement and public participation in mining application processes, and the insecurity of tenure with communal land ownership in traditional communities.

The structure of mineral rights in South Africa is designed to prevent land owners from blocking mining development that has potential to benefit the country as a whole. Unfortunately, and ironically given the policy objective of empowering black South Africans in the new democracy, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) often disproportionately disadvantages rural black communities. This happens because of: 1) an emphasis on commercial value as adequate compensation that compensates individual landholders better than less mobile communal owners; 2) inadequate barriers to start mining or prospecting before negotiating compensation, which undermines the negotiating position of surface owners and occupiers.

Additionally, the lack of consultation combined with a lack of transparency raises questions on whether these decisions are not unduly influenced. Often, communities that lose their land due to mining projects are not compensated and face significant political, economic and social barriers to claim their agency. The prevalence of corruption and maladministration in the sector adds to the challenges.

CW is keen to address these income and wealth inequalities related to the vulnerabilities of land rights, including land reform, and access to natural resources. Our aim is to identify and advocate for legal and policy reform which seek to ensure that those living in traditional communities can participate in decisions affecting their land and to claim their right to compensation.

Terms of Reference

The specific terms of reference of the consultancy are research, interrogate, review and analyse the:

  • role and effectiveness of land reform policies specific to strengthening security of land tenure of traditional communities;
  • regulatory/policy/legislative changes in response to the findings of the High Level Panel Report on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change related to communal tenure, traditional leadership laws, communal property associations;
  • interplay between MPRDA and the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPILRA);
  • recommendations of compensation models for land right holders to enable economic mobility;
  • drivers of the exercise of participation rights in mining-affected communities vis-a-vis benefit sharing agreements for land use.

Key Deliverables

  • Draft a comprehensive research report that will explore the role and effectiveness of land reform policies specific to strengthening security of land tenure of traditional communities, interplay between MPRDA and IPILRA with reference to the corruption weaknesses and opportunities for reform, recommendations of compensation models for land right holders to enable economic mobility, and the drivers of the exercise of participation rights in mining-affected communities’ vis-a-vis benefit sharing agreements for land use.
  • Produce a high-level briefing note of no more than 10 pages, specific to the regulatory/policy/legislative changes in response to the findings of the High Level Panel Report on the Assessment of Key Legislation and the Acceleration of Fundamental Change related to communal tenure, traditional leadership laws, communal property associations;
  • Create a high-level presentation directed to policy makers that proposes policy and legal recommendations to guide good governance and safeguard land owners’ rights, specifically rural women, to participation in mining application processes, and exercise rights to compensation.

Availability and Timeline

 The consultant will start work by 1 October 2021 and will have completed the consultancy by 4 February 2022. No travel is expected as part of this consultancy. The consultant will complete this assignment from their primary place of work.

 Selection Criteria

 The consultant must have:

  • a graduate degree in Law, Political Science, Social Science, Economics and/or any other relevant similar disciplines. A postgraduate tertiary qualification is advantageous;
  • at least 8 years’ experience in national work in one or more of the following fields; mineral resource governance, civil society, land governance, traditional governance, developmental studies, human rights, anti-corruption and good governance, and any other related field;
  • understanding of corruption risks and challenges, transparency, good governance, and accountability in the extractives sector;
  • understanding of land rights, customary rights, rural democracy and traditional governance rights;
  • proven research background including highly developed analytical skills, with a track record of undertaking both primary and secondary research;
  • demonstrated written skills;
  • attention to detail;
  • ability to meet deadlines;
  • responsiveness to inquiries and excellent communication skills; and
  • independence from government and extractive companies.

CLOSING DATE: 6 September 2021

If you are interested in applying, please send your expression of interest clearly stating your qualifications, interest in the research, methodology to be used and cost of the consultancy, to: admin@corruptionwatch.org.za with the subject line “Land and Mining Consultancy”.

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Call for Consultancy
Research into Beneficial Ownership Transparency in South Africa’s Mining Sector

Background

Corruption Watch (CW) is a non-profit organisation launched in January 2012. The organisation uses the reports of corruption from the public as an important source of information to fight corruption and hold leaders accountable for their actions. CW exposes corruption through communications platforms and mobilises the public to take a stand against corruption and the abuse of public funds. An important area of CW’s work is in the extractives sector with a focus on examining the risks and vulnerabilities in mining licensing processes – when mining licenses, contracts and permits are awarded – which give rise to corruption.

CW as a Transparency International (TI) chapter is part of TI’s Accountable Mining programme, which aims to strengthen transparency and accountability in the first stage of mining operations across various mineral-rich jurisdictions, and to positively influence best practices in the mining sector.

Through this programme, CW has produced a research report on the risks and vulnerabilities in the South African mining application process using the Mining Awards Corruption Risk Assessment tool (MACRA).

A key risk CW has identified at the initial stage of the value chain is that of beneficial ownership and financial transparency. The mining sector has created a corrupt industry susceptible to illicit financial flows IFFs) on a grand scale. At the African Union’s Assembly Special Declaration on Illicit Financial Flows, the extractive industry was once again highlighted as a high-risk sector across the continent of Africa and a key driver for IFFs [Assembly Special Declaration On Illicit Financial Flows Doc. Assembly/AU/17(XXIV)].

CW’s research and evidence-driven data indicates that mining companies, government officials and to a certain extent, local/community elites have created relationships and conducted activities which exploit loopholes in order to evade taxes, maximise tax benefits and adversely affect the government’s and local communities’ ability to secure development and protection of socio-economic rights.

Two particular initiatives have gained prominence in recent times. The first concerns disclosure of the ultimate ‘beneficial’ owners of the profits of a company, while the second concerns the true beneficiaries of various tax benefits and arrangements. These recipients are usually hidden behind the veil of corporate structures across different jurisdictions and have been the subject of intense research and scrutiny.

CW is keen to undertake a deep-dive research study into these mentioned initiatives in order to build advocacy, and demystify financial and beneficial ownership transparency. The research will further enable CW to ascertain the veracity to which the disclosure regime in South Africa that is applicable to the extractive industry creates a satisfactory framework for the discovery of beneficial ownership and tax-benefit arrangements, in order to ensure adequate state oversight and the enforcement of accountability in the extractives industry.

Specific Terms of Reference

The specific terms of reference of the consultancy are research, interrogate, review and analyse:

  • The role and effectiveness of beneficial ownership transparency in combating corruption in South Africa’s mineral licensing and approvals processes;
  • South Africa’s local and international disclosure policy and legislative frameworks;
  • The EITI standard and its relevance of beneficial ownership transparency data/policies in implementing African mineral-rich countries in the context of good governance and anti-corruption aims;
  • international standard-setting bodies and examples of best practice in mineral-rich jurisdictions;
  • how open data on true company ownership can be harnessed by government, private sector and civil society organisations to combat corruption;
  • case studies that illustrate the link between shell companies, corruption and illicit financial flows.
Key Deliverables
  • Produce a comprehensive research report that will explore the role and effectiveness of beneficial ownership transparency in combating corruption in South Africa’s mineral licensing and approvals processes, unpack South Africa’s local and international disclosure policy and legislative frameworks, analysis of international best practice and standards within the beneficial ownership space, case studies of transparency best practice, and recommendations to guide good governance to the key actors in the extractives sector.
  • Produce a high-level presentation to policy makers that propose policy and legal recommendations that guide beneficial ownership transparency and good governance in mineral approvals processes.
  • Produce briefing note of no more than five pages specific to the opportunities and risks focused on how open data on true company ownership can be harnessed by government, private sector and civil society organisations to combat corruption.
Availability and Timeline

 The consultant will start work by 1 September 2021 and will have completed the consultancy by 1 November 2021. No travel is expected as part of this consultancy. The consultant will complete this assignment from their primary place of work.

 Selection Criteria

 The consultant must have:

  • a graduate degree in Law, Political Science, Economics and/ or any other relevant similar disciplines. Postgraduate tertiary qualification advantageous;
  • at least eight years’ experience in national work in one or more of the following fields; mineral resource governance, civil society, fiscal transparency, beneficial ownership transparency tools, use-cases and approaches, contract transparency, anti-corruption and good governance, and any other related field;
  • understanding of corruption risks and challenges, transparency, good governance, and accountability in the extractives sector;
  • proven research background including highly developed analytical skills, with a track record of undertaking both primary and secondary research;
  • demonstrated written skills;
  • attention to detail; ability to meet deadlines;
  • responsiveness to inquiries and excellent communication skills;
  • independence from government and extractive companies.

CLOSING DATE: 23 August 2021

If you are interested in applying, please send us the following documents: 

  • Copy of qualifications and CV indicating work experience relevant to the consultancy;
  • Two samples of your past written work (for example, articles or research reports). Alternatively, in 1 500 words or less, answer ONE of the following questions:
    1. Discuss the transparency and good governance gaps identified in South Africa’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan for 2020 – 2022 regarding beneficial ownership transparency reform.
    2. Discuss how the Nova Property Group Ltd & Others v Cobbett & Another [2016] ZASCA 63 judgment provides an opportunity for beneficial ownership transparency reform.
    3. Unpack how mine-affected communities can use beneficial ownership data to their advantage.

Send the above-mentioned documents in PDF format to: admin@corruptionwatch.org.za with the subject line “Beneficial Ownership Transparency Consultancy”.

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Legal interns and externs – please note that the positions below are being offered on a rolling basis, meaning that while there is no closing date, we will select from the applications as and when required.

LEGAL INTERNS

As part of CW’s mandate, we are committed to strengthening the criminal justice system, including efforts to address financial crime; the refinement of our planning and procurement systems; and supporting and strengthening the ability of private and public bodies to better detect and address corruption in their spheres of operation.

CW is looking for interns to work in our offices in Johannesburg, South Africa. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis but applicants are encouraged to get their application in as soon as possible, indicating dates of availability. Interns will work at CW ’s offices under the supervision of one of our legal and investigations unit members.

Responsibilities may include legal research and writing, including international and comparative law research; factual research on specific legal cases and fact-checking legal filings; assisting in ongoing investigations into reports of corruption; and assisting staff in organising conferences and seminars.

Please note that the position is unpaid.

Requirements:

  • Interest in human rights issues;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • Excellent research skills including online sources;
  • Well-organised, self-motivated and reliable.

Interested applicants should send a letter of interest, a detailed CV and an unedited writing sample to admin@corruptionwatch.org.za, with the subject line “Legal Internship”.

LEGAL EXTERNS

CW is looking for externs – full time students who can dedicate approximately 10 hours per week to research and general assistance to CW. Externs will generally work from home, with occasional meetings with the CW legal and investigations unit. This work may include legal research and writing, including international and comparative law research; and factual research on specific legal cases.

Externships are designed to give students practical experience of working in litigation, without the time and financial difficulties full-time internships create. Working with CW ’s legal and investigations unit provides students with exposure to litigation at domestic courts as well as to regional and international human rights mechanisms, and will help broaden your understanding of the strategies lawyers involved in such cases adopt. However, our externships require dedication and hard work, and we expect high standards of work from our externs.

Preferred applicants:

  • All law students who already have an undergraduate degree;
  • Interest in corruption, political and human rights issues;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English;
  • Excellent research skills including online sources;
  • Well-organised, self-motivated and reliable.

Interested applicants should send a one-page letter of interest, a detailed CV, an unedited writing sample and a two-page answer to the research question to admin@corruptionwatch.org.za, with the subject line “Legal Externship”.

Research question: In your opinion how does corruption impact on human rights and how can the law be used to mitigate and/or combat these impacts?

Please check this page regularly to keep up to date with Corruption Watch positions as they become available.

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