GovTech, Durban – IT suppliers are getting a hard time regarding corruption within the public sector, with much of the blame for dishonest practices being laid at the industry's door.
Ken Jarvis, CEO of Jika Africa and previously CIO of South African Revenue Services (SARS), told GovTech delegates that corruption could be stamped out if suppliers stopped offering bribes to government employees.
Jarvis used his keynote presentation today to hit out at IT suppliers as the source of corruption. "This is where corruption starts," he says. "To the supplier community: stop the gifts, stop the events, stop the sucking up.
"Of course the CIO has to accept a bribe, but it starts with you – and if someone asks you for something, report them."
Governance and transparency are growing imperatives in the public sector, he adds, and he urges government IT professionals to get them in place if only to protect themselves.
Asked why more CIOs fail to report bribery offers from vendors, Jarvis explains that this can be a tough call for government employees.
"People are scared – there ae many influences here," he says, "If I'm offered a bribe by a company that has significant political connections, who is going to win that fight?
"The will needs to start at director-general level and it's got to be a collective effort.
"The CIO must have the guts to say no – but he must have the support," Jarvis adds.