Corruption in South Africa not as high as thought


Although South Africans believe corruption increased significantly in 2015, Brand South Africa research has found that negative perceptions of corruption in South Africa are low compared to its peer nations.

Transparency-LogoTransparency International, the organisation that analyses the perception of corruption around the world, considers South Africa moderately corrupt in a recent report.(Images: Transparency International )

Publishing Media Club South Africa stories - click here

Media Club South Africa reporter

Corruption in South Africa is not as bad as people may think, according to two Transparency International surveys, backed up by Brand South Africa’s own research.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) by the international organisation assess the perceptions of corruption around the world. In the 2015 iterations of the surveys, South Africa performed more favourably than people may have expected. With a score of 44 out of 100 in the perception index – zero being highly corrupt and 100 being very clean – South Africa is considered moderately corrupt.

The CPI looks at how public sector corruption is perceived by examining expert assessments and opinion surveys. However, the GCB, which was compiled in collaboration with research organisation Afrobarometer, directly asks locals for their perception of corruption not just in the public sector but on influential people such as business executives and religious and traditional leaders.

Released on 27 January this year, the CPI ranks the country 61st out of 168 countries surveyed. The GCB, released December 2015, says South Africans believe that corruption increased by 83% in 2015. However, the Barometer also says South Africa ranks below the average in Africa. Just one in 10 respondents said they had been exposed to bribery when dealing with public services in the previous year.

BribesAccording to research done by Brand South Africa, poor scores could mean there is widespread bribery in a country. South Africa’s moderately corrupt score on the CPI reflects South Africa’s below average bribery rate.

Negative perceptions of corruption in South Africa are low compared to its peer nations. According to a Brand South Africa analysis on the CPI compiled by Judy Smith-Höhn, South Africa is the least corrupt amongst its BRICS counterparts and is second only to South Korea on the Next 11 list.

Smith-Höhn said the GCB revealed a gap between people’s personal experience of corruption and their perceptions of government structures not doing enough to stem corrupt activities. This, she said, was likely due to a distinction made by respondents between so-called “high level” and “low level” corruption.

“At the high level, perceptions of excessive ‘tenderpreneurship’ – which enables those with the political influence to secure lucrative government contracts – prevail. At the lower level, it appears that most South African citizens interviewed had little personal exposure to corruption when engaging with key public services.”

Check out the full list of countries featured in the 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index below. Click to view larger image.


CPI-small(Infographic: Transparency International)