When it comes to corruption, ‘Why the hell not?’ is a too-easy refrain

Adv Paul Pretorius is pictured returning to lead evidence on the last day of former BOSASA COO Angelo Agrizzi's testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, 29 January 2019. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Adv Paul Pretorius is pictured returning to lead evidence on the last day of former BOSASA COO Angelo Agrizzi's testimony at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in Parktown, 29 January 2019. Picture: Refilwe Modise

We need to rethink our morality as a nation.

“The glass is half full” optimists might believe the fact that South Africa made it into the 10 least corrupt sub-Saharan African countries is some cause for celebration.

Perhaps the ANC may even grab that fact as it looks for the “good stories to tell” while its election campaign gathers pace.

But the news from the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is nothing but worrying. We may be ninth on the list of least corrupt sub-Saharan countries but, let’s face it, that’s a pretty dismal collection of crooks and dictatorships to start with.

On the CPI scale of zero (which is totally corrupt) to 100 (totally clean), South Africa scores only 41. That’s enough for a matric pass … but not enough to give anyone faith about the future.

All around us we see tales of government looting and state capture – and find out that the private sector is up to its eyeballs in it, too. SA citizens, seeing the prevalence of bribery – and the apparent general lack of consequences for those involved in it – think: why the hell not?

And they do it too. We need to rethink our morality as a nation – all of us, not just the government.

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