SA scores poorly in corruption survey

Staff Writer | Jul 15, 2019
Seventy percent of South Africans believe the government is not doing enough to curb corruption, and almost half believe most or all police officers are corrupt.

These are among the findings in the latest edition of the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), released by Transparency International in partnership with Afrobarometer.

The survey of 47 000 citizens in 35 African countries was conducted over August and September 2018.

The results show that 64% of South Africans surveyed believed corruption had increased over the 12 months preceding the survey, and that 70% believed the government was not doing enough about corruption.

All of 49% of South African respondents believed most or all police were corrupt, two percentage points higher than the average for Africa.

South African respondents also believed local government officials were highly corrupt (45%), followed by government officials and members of Parliament (both 44%), and 37% believed most or all business executives were corrupt.

Notably, 30% of South African respondents said they were concerned about corruption in the non-governmental organisations sector, too.

However, more than half of South Africans surveyed (57%) believed ordinary people could make a difference in fighting corruption.

News24 quoted Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis as saying that while the survey was ‘undertaken too early to constitute a definitive public judgement on the performance of the [Cyril] Ramaphosa administration’, it was clear South Africans believed the government was ‘not doing enough to combat corruption’.

‘Indeed,’ Lewis added, ‘they believe that their public institutions, including key oversight bodies like Parliament and the law enforcement agencies, notably the police, are among the most corrupt. Impunity will rule unless these institutions are cleaned.’

IRR research – captured in its three Broken Blue Line reports in 2011, 2015 and 2018 (you can read the latest one here) – has consistently shown high levels of police involvement in serious crime, along with declining public trust in the South African Police Service.

The IRR has long argued that a key first step towards better policing and a safer society is to let communities choose their own station commanders, and thus exert direct pressure on a government service that is critical to the quality of life, and the hope of a better life, of all South Africans.


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