South Africa percieved to be one of the most corrupt in African survey

Photo by Jack Zalium


A survey by Afrobarometer in co-operation with Transparency International has shown that more than half of those surveyed believe that corruption in African countries were on the rise-South Africa being one of the worst performers. More than 80% of South Africans were of the opinion that corruption had increased in the last year, while 79% believed government is failing to to turn the tide.

The perception that everyday corruption were on the increase, coupled with incidents like the Nkandla saga, Prasa train fiasco and allegations of corrupt deals between Neotel and the state-owned Transnet were all contributing factors to this negative outlook on the state of corruption in South Africa, according to Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis. On a more positive note though at least 56% of those surveyed believed that ordinary people could make a difference in fighting corruption.

Twenty-five per cent of those surveyed in South Africa agreed that reporting corruption would be an effective mitigation measure, with another 22% believing the refusal to pay bribes would be a step in the right direction.

“This is consistent with our experience. In the space of nearly four years, we have received thousands of reports of corruption from the public. That South Africans have refused to accept corruption as a way of life is the most encouraging finding of this survey,” Lewis noted.

Fifty per cent of those surveyed across the continent echoed those sentiments. However, nearly 60% of African citizens said corruption had increased over the past year, while 22% and 14% believed it had decreased or remained unchanged respectively. The majority of the continent’s citizens rated every governments’ anticorruption efforts negatively, with 18 out of 28 governments seen as “fully failing” to tackle corruption by a large majority.

The report showed that citizens in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia and Ghana were most negative about the scale of corruption in their respective countries, while citizens in Botswana, Lesotho, Senegal and Burkina Faso had more positive views. Police officers and business executives were perceived to be most corrupt and, out of six key public services, people who come into contact with the police and the courts were the most likely to have paid a bribe, the report showed. However, several smaller countries in sub-Saharan Africa were seen as effectively mitigating corruption, with only a few people paying bribes or where citizens believed they could effectively contribute to stopping corruption.