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Corruption Watch says graft remains a problem in SA

South Africa’s ranking on the corruption index continues to slide. File picture: Supplied

South Africa’s ranking on the corruption index continues to slide. File picture: Supplied

Published Jan 26, 2022


Johannesburg - Corruption Watch says there were some positive developments in the attempt to expose and address corruption in South Africa.

The organisation said the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture has been instrumental in uncovering the extent of corruption and greed that has taken hold of institutions and processes over the past decade and more.

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This after the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2021 report was released on Tuesday.

The CPI is a global indicator of public sector corruption. It ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

“While the naming and shaming of individuals through the commission has been revelatory, giving rise to hopes that finally there will be accountability, especially with Zondo’s recommendation to create a procurement officer’s profession and bring more reliability to the field, this may also have the converse effect of convincing people that the scale of corruption is irremediable,” said executive director of Corruption Watch Karam Singh.

Singh said there is widespread interest from the public in this process, but also an expectation that prosecutions will begin to reel in the vast array of individuals from the private and public sectors who have been found complicit in orchestrating corruption.

The organisation said a review of South Africa’s standing on the CPI since 2012 demonstrates a woeful stagnation on the global index over the past nearly 10 years.

In 2012 South Africa scored 43, ranking 69 out of 176 countries that were assessed that year. Fast-forward to 2021, and the country sits at 44, the same as last year, dropping one place in rank to 70 out of the now 180 countries. The highest score over the past decade was 45 on the 2016 CPI, while the lowest score was 42 on the 2013 index.

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“It is extremely disheartening to find ourselves, year after year, in the same position on the CPI, with marginal shifts up or down. The poor perceptions of how South Africa is faring in its efforts to truly tackle and dismantle the systems that enable corruption are perhaps to be expected, when one considers the staggering levels of corruption we have witnessed,” said Singh.

He continued: “As a civil society organisation working relentlessly to expose the gaps that enable corruption, and find solutions for creating a society free from this scourge, we can only hope that recent developments to bring corruption to the fore in the country will result in swift and effective prosecutions, and a restoration of public confidence in the political will to end impunity and lack of accountability.”

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Political Bureau