SA is one of many countries that have stagnated in the fight against corruption, says watchdog – Archyde

  • South Africa’s fight against corruption is stagnating, says Corruption Watch.
  • The country scored 44 out of 100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
  • South Africa’s score has improved only slightly over the past decade.

Despite extensive State Capture Inquiry scrutiny and the strengthening of institutions such as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority, South Africa’s performance on an international index measuring corruption was “mediocre”.

South Africa scored 44 out of 100 according to the Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International (TI) on Tuesday. The index ranks 180 countries according to their perceived level of public sector corruption. On the index scale, zero means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean.

South Africa was slightly above the average score of 43 out of 100. The average score for sub-Saharan Africa is 33, making it the lowest-scoring region in the world.

Corruption Watch found that the country has only marginally improved its reputation over the past decade.

The country has consistently scored between 42 and 45 over the past decade, reaching its lowest in 2013 and its highest in 2016.

In a statement, Corruption Watch said South Africa was one of many countries stagnating in its fight against corruption.

“There isn’t much to say about South Africa’s performance this year [Corruption Perceptions Index]. We’ve said it all in recent years because South Africa has once again achieved a mediocre score – one that hasn’t changed by more than three points in the last 10 years,” the statement said.

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“However, TI has found that the same is true for many countries. Stagnation is one of the key points of the 2021 Index.”

The Index found that human rights and democracy were under attack around the world.

“Corruption enables human rights violations and sets in motion a vicious and escalating spiral. When rights and freedoms are eroded, democracy declines and authoritarianism takes its place, which in turn allows for higher levels of corruption,” the report said.

Corruption Watch’s legal and investigative director Karam Singh said South Africa “is stagnating in terms of a bold fight against corruption”.

While corruption flourished under the previous government with state takeover, the new government has “a patchy track record” in implementing reforms, Singh said.

He added:

We must give this administration credit for restoring credibility to institutions like SARS, the Hawks and the NPA, but the ruling party is mired in a deep internal struggle that is eroding confidence in its leadership.

According to Singh, reforms must be made to protect public procurement from corruption and investments must be made in promoting and protecting whistleblowers.

“There is still so much to do. We need bolder initiatives, institutional alignment and more criminal prosecutions. The rhetoric must be coordinated in politics.”

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