It would be nearly impossible to find a South African who has not been affected by crime in one way or another. “White-collar crime,” a term first used by Edwin Sutherland in 1939, describes crime that is non-violent, but for the purpose of personal financial gain. This type of crime, including fraud and corruption, is becoming a greater problem in South Africa every year, and it is negatively affecting the country as a whole. Although they are not violent, fraud and corruption cause as much harm as any other types of crime, and a great effort must be made soon to stop them.
All over the world, financial crimes are wreaking havoc. People have been scamming others, taking bribes, and doing other greedy things forever. It’s human nature, but in today’s society, it’s unacceptable. In just one fiscal year (2012/2013), the South African government’s Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) recovered over 1.1 billion rand from the illicit economy. This money came from the proceeds of fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, corruption, and other financial crimes. One billion rand may seem like a lot, and its recovery is a great achievement, but that is only a fraction of what was lost. No one knows how much wasn’t recovered, but it’s safe to guess that it’s in the billions
It is not easy to detect fraud, and criminals have been getting away with it for decades. With the birth of the internet, it has become even easier to scam people, communicate with other criminals all over the world, and hide your profits. It wasn’t until 2008 that South Africa created their Financial Intelligence Centre to help combat white-collar crimes. Most financial crime in South Africa is international, so the FIC collaborates with global organizations like the Financial Action Task Force, who work with 36 countries around the world, to recover money from the wealthy thieves. “Ponzi schemes” and pyramid schemes, where investors are promised an impossible return, are well known and common all over the world. These, combined with all other financial crimes, are creating an illegal economy that is taking money from South Africans, and hurting the economies of countries across the globe. The amount of money illegally changing hands each day is unimaginable. In just one year, the FIC received over one hundred thousand suspicious transaction reports. If South Africa wants to save billions of rand from leaving their economy, more focus must be brought towards preventing and detecting financial crime.
It is much more difficult to fix a country’s problems if that country has a corrupt government. You hear about corruption in all countries, no matter how rich or poor. Even something as small as an officer taking a bribe instead of giving a person a speeding ticket is corruption. On the large scale, it can account for billions of dollars in an example such as taking a bribe to give a certain company a government contract. South Africa’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has found that...