KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize yesterday welcomed the release of the Economic Crime Survey Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which revealed an increase in cases of fraud and corruption.
He was speaking at a business breakfast attended by chief executives from private companies and public organisations.
PricewaterhouseCoopers forensic investigator Trevor White said the effects of the global economic downturn were being felt in South Africa.
"This is highlighted by an increase in financial statement fraud.
"These included accounting manipulations - 18percent; unauthorised transactions-rouge trading - 15percent; fraudulent application for credit - 13percent; and fraudulent borrowing-/raising of finance - 8percent," he said.
White said the latest survey had revealed an increase in bribery and corruption from previous surveys, and all sectors had been affected, both public and private.
He said in 2007, 53percent of respondents reported having experienced bribery and corruption, and this figure had increased to 59percent in 2009.
Mkhize pointed out that during these tough economic conditions employees in both government and the private sector were vulnerable.
He said as a result employees were easily tempted to turn to corrupt and fraudulent means in order to meet their financial obligations and to get out of indebtedness.
"In the face of this the administrative machinery of the state must be improved to deal with these challenges, while at the same time we should enhance the credibility of the state as a development partner committed to the promotion of a strong culture of ethics," he said.
Mkhize said the release of the report was not only appropriate but very timely, given the fact that the government had embarked on a campaign to eradicate fraud and corruption.
He pointed out that the release of the report would raise awareness and motivate society to join the government in fighting the scourge of corruption.
"In KwaZulu-Natal we will deal ruthlessly with corruption. Communities must make use of the hotlines to report all fraudulent activities," he said.