A LOOTA CONTINUA – variation of the phrase A luta continua – the struggle continues. The original was the rallying cry of the Frelimo movement in Mozambique’s civil war of the 1960s-1970s and has since become popular with activist organisations. The variation came to light during the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa and wryly refers to the continuing looting of public money and resources.

ABUSE OF POWER / OFFICE / RESOURCES / FUNCTION – the use of one’s position or authority to commit an unlawful act for the purpose of obtaining an personal advantage or an advantage for another person or entity, out of which one can derive personal gain. Abuse of power can also refer to the refusal to perform an act or function which forms part of prescribed duties.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION – the right by law, often through freedom of information legislation (acts or laws), to access key facts and data from the government and any public body based on the notion that citizens can obtain information which is in the possession of the state.

ACCOUNTABILITY – this denotes a relationship between a bearer of a right and the agents or agencies responsible for fulfilling or respecting that right. As a basic example, it could be a relationship between a person entrusted with a particular task or certain powers or resources, and the person on whose behalf the task is undertaken. Accountability may be fulfilled in various ways, but there are three elements in common:

  • Transparency – decisions and actions are taken openly and information is available.
  • Answerability – public justification of reasons for actions.
  • Controllability – mechanisms in place to sanction actions and decisions that fall outside of a given mandate or procedure.

ACTIVE AND PASSIVE BRIBERY – active bribery refers to the offence committed by the person who promises or gives the bribe; as contrasted to passive bribery, which is the offence committed by the official who receives the bribe. Active bribery occurs on the supply side, passive bribery on the demand side.

It is important to note that active bribery does not always mean that the briber has taken the initiative. In fact, often the reverse is true. The individual who receives the bribe often demanded it in the first place. In a sense, then, he or she is the more active party in the transaction.

ASSET FORFEITURE AND RECOVERY – involve the seizure and confiscation of assets tainted because of their connection with a crime (they were used in committing the crime or were derived from it). Recovery is the process by which governments repatriate the proceeds of corruption hidden in foreign jurisdictions, to the country of origin.

AUDITING – refers to an official examination of an organisation or institution’s accounts, to make sure money has been spent according to rules, regulations and norms. South Africa’s auditor-general is one of a number of audit institutions which make a vital contribution to good governance by detecting poor management and inappropriate use of public money. Auditing institutions can be considered the taxpayers’ independent and professional watchdogs.