THE PUBLIC SECTOR FRAUD SURVEY
A statement on fraud and corruption by South Africa's President, Mr. Thabo Mbeki (pdf) - edited
Foreword by the Executive President of SAIGA (pdf)
The Public Sector Fraud Survey Team wishes to thank al participants who took of their valuable time to
complete and return the questionnaires.
Without your input this research project would not have been possible.
It is said that there are three categories of people:
those who make things happen
those who do not care what happens
those who wonder what happened
By completing your questionnaire and returning it to us, you definitely fall within the first category.
The Southern African Institute of Government Auditors also extends its sincere appreciation to the
members of the research team involved in this project. Your work will undoubtedly contribute towards
combating fraud and assisting government to provide a more effective and efficient service. This, in
turn, will benefit all South Africans.
Formulating the research findings
Every graph presented in this report provides a mass of information and allows the reader to draw
conclusions. In their own way, the graphs literally speak for themselves. The total information provided
by all the data is considerably larger than the sum of the individual sources
Comparisons between different graphs and the information they present, add to the information pool
and every reader will find specific aspects relating to her/his own domain of experience as being
The findings must be seen within the context of the whole report, the time frame in which it was
undertaken, the current socio-economic and many other factors prevailing in our country and the global
environment of which South Africa is an integral part.
The findings formulated in the various sections represent only a fraction of the possible conclusions and
the mass of newly found knowledge obtained through this research project. After careful consideration
it was decided that further reduction of these findings to a few "highlight points" would be undesirable,
as it would place undue focus on these few points and thereby distract from the many other possible
conclusions not formulated and the wealth of knowledge this project has produced.
The report "lives" in the sense that it provides more information and knowledge, the longer one reads
and studies it.
The results of this survey are essentially perception based. Many questions aim to assess the way in
which the respondents perceive the problem of fraud. In effect, however, these perceptions are formed,
based on real-life experiences in the respondents working environment. From this perspective the
research results contribute towards a better understanding of the phenomenon of fraud and allow us to
gauge critical elements thereof.
We believe that a consecutive survey will provide even more useful information as it will allow us to
identify trends. It is envisaged that this survey will be undertaken every third year.
The questionnaire design allows the researcher to perform various analysis, based on the categories of
the profile of the respondents. Each answer can be analised according to the level of government, the
various provinces, size of the institution, level of management and experience of the respondents.
Other combinations of the above categories are also possible, providing a huge body of data and
resultant knowledge on fraud and fraud related aspects. In presenting the research results in this report,
the researchers have focused on presenting the most useful results. We acknowledge that this involves a
subjective element. In order to compensate for this, the Southern African Institute of Government
Auditors is prepared to consider written and motivated requests for additional research information not
made available in this report.
The Southern African Institute of Government Auditors welcomes comments and feed-back relating to
this survey and its results. The Institute will make these available to the research team. The Institute
regrets, however, that no correspondence will be entered into.
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Scope of the research and profile of the respondents
The questionnaires were sent to all Accounting Officers/Chief Financial Officers of national and
provincial departments, public entities and local authorities.
This yielded a total of 528 usable completed questionnaires. The profile of the various groups of
respondents is shown in Chart 1.
Note: The total of responses to the various questions does not always add up to 528, as some
respondents have not answered all questions.
Representation of the various provinces in which the respondents' institutions reside is shown in Chart 2.
Respondents were asked to rank the size of their institution according to the "total annual budget".
Three categories were derived from this information:
Institutions with an annual budget of more than R1 Billion (large).
Institutions with an annual budget of less than R1 Billion but more than R250 Million (medium).
Institutions with an annual budget of less than R250 Million (small).
For ease of reference and user friendliness, all graphs refer to these categories as large, medium and
The representation of the respondents in these three groups is shown in Chart 3.
Respondents stated their position or rank (e.g. Accounting Officer, CFO, Director, etc.). From this
information they were categorised into three groups, being top management, middle management and
other more junior posts (refer to chart 4). Respondents also stated the number of year experience they
have in the public sector (refer to chart 5).
The respondents constitute a representative sample with reference to the following criteria:
type of institution in the public sector (level of government);
size of institution (annual budget);
experience in the public sector.
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Is fraud a major problem in the public sector?
Awareness level of fraud
Changes in the fraud awareness levels
Future trends regarding fraud
Quantification of fraud cases
Factors increasing fraud
Types of fraud
Occurrence of certain types of employee fraud
Occurrence of certain types of management fraud
Occurrence of certain types of fraud by outsiders
How were frauds discovered?
Actions taken when frauds were discovered
Recovery of losses
Steps to prevent and fight fraud
Effect of the PFMA towards the fight against fraud
Level of fraud occurrence: public versus private sector
Fraud Prevention Plans
Knowledge of the Public Finance Management Act
Comparison of research results of two studies: public versus private sector
Feedback from respondents
Red Flags for Fraud
Extracts from other studies
List of references
[ Selected findings of the first Public Sector Fraud Survey ]
The full contents of the research report is not made available on this website. The report has been
published under ISBN number (copy right protection) and can be ordered from the SAIGA Secretariat. To
download an order form in MS Word format click on the link below.
Download order form (MS Word Format)
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Salient features of the Public Sector Fraud Survey Report are:
Respondents represent national and provincial departments, local authorities and public entities.
It contains over 100 full color charts / graphs.
The graphs analyse unique characteristics and fraud profiles based on numerous groupings:
small, medium and large organisations;
national, provincial, local and public entities;
the various provinces;
experience levels of the respondents;
seniority of the respondents;
internal versus external audit.
It contains information and analysis on aspects such as:
factors contributing towards fraud;
types of fraud (employee fraud, management fraud and fraud by outsiders);
fraud awareness levels and past & future trends in fraud occurrences;
factors contributing towards the discovery of fraud (the role of internal & external audit,
internal control, whistle blowers, police and other government agencies);
the various actions which organisations took when discovering fraud;
steps to prevent and fight fraud (the role of internal control, Code of Ethics, etc.);
the occurrence of bribes, inventory theft, fruitless & wasteful expenditure, etc.;
the effect of the Public Finance Management Act on the fight against fraud;
the development and implementation of fraud prevention plans;
red flags for fraud (useful for self-assessment purposes);
comparisons between public and private sectors.
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to strive for a cleaner
and more accountable
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