SA becoming more and more corrupt

SOUTH Africa now ranks 69th of 176 countries
considered in Transparency International’s
corruption perception index for this year. Local
commentators, however, are not surprised that the
country has shed five places in the index, which
was released on Wednesday.
South Africa has fallen 31 places in the past 11
years, and it ranked behind Ghana, Namibia,
Rwanda and Lesotho in this year’s edition of the
index. South Africa ranked 38th out of 91 countries
in the 2001 survey.
The index measured perceived levels of corruption
in the public sector, bribery, the abuse of public
resources, secrecy in decision making,
anticorruption laws and conflicts of interest in
respect of government officials.
There are a raft of complaints before Public
Protector Thuli Madonsela. The Special Investigating
Unit also has a mountain of corruption
proclamations on its table, and auditor-general
Terence Nombembe has found numerous
irregularities in his inspection of the books of state
entities. Hundreds of corruption charges against
President Jacob Zuma were dropped on dubious
grounds, and he is now embroiled in allegations that
state coffers were raided to make improvements to
his private home.
Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesman on the
standing committee on public accounts Dion George
said yesterday the trend was "hardly surprising".
SA shed 14 places in the past three years under Mr
Zuma, he said.
Over the past year the government has shown a
"lacklustre" response to public sector corruption,
and the year was characterised by "Nkandlagate",
continued failure to permanently appoint the head
of the Special Investigating Unit, and a refusal to
adopt legislation that would prohibit officials from
doing business with the state, said Mr George.
The African National Congress had also rammed
the "secrecy bill" through Parliament, and few
criminal charges resulted from breeches of the
Public Finance Management Act pointed out by the
Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis
yesterday said the results were not surprising as
the "survey echoes what we hear in the thousands
of reports from ordinary people confronting
corruption daily". While many leaders in the public
and private sectors were deeply concerned about
corruption, "the public can’t help but see the
disjuncture between strong words and weak action,"
Mr Lewis said.
DA correctional services spokesman James Selfe
recently said: "The DA is shocked at the pervasive
nature and extent of corruption and
maladministration in government in South Africa".
Special Investigating Unit probes were being
undertaken into 32 municipalities (24 of which were
in North West alone), six national departments, 12
provincial departments (from Limpopo,
Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape) as
well as three parastatals.
Earlier this year Ms Madonsela said corruption was
endemic in South Africa. "If we don’t deal with
corruption decisively, it will not only affect good
governance, but it has the potential to distort our
economy and to derail democracy," she said.


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