It is not only the public sector that has come under intense scrutiny for widespread corruption; rampant fraud and underhanded practices in the private sector have also undermined the credibility of Corporate South Africa.
The losses experienced in a recent debacle involving a large listed company, for example, amounted to more than R100-billion. In as little as two days, high-level fraudulent activities exceeded the staggering sums of money a politically-connected family and corrupt representatives of various government organs are accused of stealing from state-owned entities over a decade.
Earlier, the South African branch of a well-known multinational auditing firm was also embroiled in a fiasco that culminated in the resignation of its chief-executive officer and seven senior executives.
There are a number of other examples of severe corporate lapses in South Africa, where increasing corruption has been identified as the number one risk by the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA). This is also evident by the rapid financial deterioration of state-owned entities as a result of wide-scale looting at the highest levels. The situation is so dire that it has crippled the largest electricity utility on the continent and left a government department overseeing water bankrupt in the worst draught the country has experienced this far.
According to the IRMSA, corruption climbed from the second-highest national risk in August 2016 to the highest in January 2017, while a PwC survey notes that South Africa is one of the top five countries reporting the most economic crime.
The others include France, Kenya, Zambia and Spain, and the most commonly reported economic misconducts comprise asset misappropriation, financial mismanagement, procurement fraud, bribery and corruption.
This supports earlier research undertaken by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners that has shown that, globally, workplace fraud has steadily increased between 2012 and 2016.
In 2012, losses of US$140 000 were reported due to occupational fraud and this increased to US$150 000 by 2016.
To counter this real threat, international organisations are increasingly implementing robust pre-employment screening and recruitment procedures.
Importantly, they rely heavily on polygraph testing, a lie-detection technique that has already proved its worth in weeding out economic criminals in the workplace, when used correctly and in appropriate circumstances.
Based on international successes, Havensec Solutions believes that there is still ample room to effectively deploy polygraph screening in the recruitment phases in South Africa.
The United States, for example, even regulates polygraph testing in these circumstances, and its Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 could also serve as a blueprint to develop our own legislative framework to ensure increased uptake and improved use of the technique. This is considering our unique and challenging economic climate, and the need to mitigate additional negative impacts on the livelihoods of citizens by conducting these tests in a professional manner.
Meanwhile, there are a number of codes of good practice that guide employers and experts in the use of lie-detection technology in recruitment processes. These include those enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, the Labour Relations Act, 1995, and the Employment Equity Act, 1998.
Working strictly according to these, employers continue to gauge Havensec Solutions to assist them in their pre-employment screening and recruitment processes.
Up to 60% of South African companies now use these skills and capabilities in their recruitment strategies. Typical companies relying on these services include those involved in the financial, security, insurance, retail, hospitality, manufacturing, entertainment and construction industries.
This is in addition to logistics and transport companies operating in an economic sector that is also targeted by syndicates who rely on inside information supplied by dishonest employees.
Worryingly, a high percentage of company-related crime is still being perpetrated by employees or those conspiring with staff. Our expertise has been invaluable in helping identifying people who have a questionable past or who continue to participate in criminal behaviour before they are employed.
Before taking the test, as many as 80% of candidates admit to a misdemeanour when interviewed for a job application. Moreover, our technologies have uncovered drinking and drug-related deficiencies, as well as petty offences. Left unchecked, an employee could be tempted to commit a more serious offence while in your employ. Havensec Solutions works closely with all of its clients to develop and implement a comprehensive security solution for their unique needs. They understand that the decisions they make today will impact on their organisation’s sustainability over the long-term, and it is for this reason that they have entrusted us with their critical security needs.
They also include our expertise in the field of personal body guarding, armed escorts, surveillance and information gathering, debugging of private and office spaces, covert cameras, undercover agents, as well as private and civil investigations.