FORMER South African president Thabo Mbeki says the “African renaissance” can only be possible through good governance.
Dr Mbeki made the remarks on Friday in his keynote address during the Lesotho Institute of Accountants’ (LIA) seventh annual conference held at AVANI Maseru Hotel.
Held under the theme ‘Accountancy Profession – Defining the Leadership Paradigm for New Africa’, the three-day indaba was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Finance Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla among a host of LIA members, accountants and auditors, finance directors and managers as well as business-owners.
Distinguished speakers from across the African continent also made presentations during the conference, among them Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants Chief Executive Hapenga Kabeta, Public Accountants and Auditors Board of Zimbabwe Executive Secretary Admire Ndurunduru, Pan African Federation of Accountants Chief Executive Officer Vickson Ncube, and Central Bank of Ireland representative Mamohato Mohapi Byrne among many others.
Dr Mbeki said the accounting profession was a critical player in achieving the African renaissance’s economic objectives. He further noted the paradigm shift in bringing about an African resurgence must include “close attention to the task of combating corruption and fraud on a sustained basis”.
Dr Mbeki added: “As many of us present here know, in the October 2014 edition of the journal of the Lesotho Institute of Accountants, The Accountant, the CEO of the Institute, Ms Malehlohonolo Mahase, raises a very important issue. She says:’ Currently, Lesotho is faced with a situation of widespread corruption and fraud within the public and private sector. This is of great concern to LIA. What have we missed? Where did we go wrong? What can be done to remedy the situation and improve accountability? And what is the root cause of this? These questions should constantly ponder on the mind of the accountant – but an important question that needs to be addressed is: who are the strategic partners and potential advisers of the company, government and of Lesotho?”
The former president said the questions posed by Ms Mahase applied not just to Lesotho but also the greater part Africa.
“Where and when the corruption and the fraud she wrote about become pervasive and endemic throughout our countries’ leadership echelons, it means we will fail to achieve the objectives of the African Renaissance and the transformation and modernisation of our economies,” he said.
“It must, therefore, go without saying that the capacity and determination to achieve sustained growth, development and transformation of the African economy must be one of the defining elements in the new leadership paradigm we are discussing.”
Corporate and government leaders should be informed by a “moral value system” at whose centre must be a commitment to serve the people and fight corruption on a continuous basis, Dr Mbeki added.
“It must ensure the elaboration and implementation of a comprehensive state and popular system to fight this corruption, including the passage of the necessary legislation and ensuring an independent judiciary does indeed carry out its work without fear or favour and that especially the accounting and legal professions are empowered similarly to discharge their solemn responsibilities,” said Dr Mbeki.
“The political leadership, together with its social partners, and state institutions, should be empowered with the capacity to ensure they elaborate and implement policies and programmes which would result in sustained economic growth, development and transformation.”