South Africans are becoming more intolerant of corruption and the abuse of power by those in leadership positions – with an increasing willingness to hold them to account.
This was according to Corruption Watch’s 2016 annual corruption report. Released on Monday, it reviewed the past five years, in which the public had reported on its experiences of corruption with the organisation.
So far, 15 000 whistle-blowers from across the spectrum have chosen to take action. But the fight was far from over, said David Lewis, the organisation’s executive director.
“The future of our country rests on our ability to maintain and intensify the pressure exerted in 2016,” Lewis said.
“During 2016, a total of 4 391 reports of corruption were received, a substantial increase on previous years since the organisation was launched in 2012.”
The report said South Africans decisively and publicly rejected corruption last year. This included ordinary voters and community members, through to leading public officials and Cabinet ministers.
“This trend of increased and vocal activism mirrors a heightened climate of public engagement that was seen in 2016,” Lewis said.
“It points to greater levels of awareness and urgency among communities to rise up against corruption. This data creates the opportunity to target corruption in specific sectors.
“The most prevalent of corruption reported in 2016 centred on the abuse of power, bribery and procurement corruption.”
Corruption Watch’s 2017/18 focus “is to continue to engage the public around issues such as the national anticorruption strategy and the school governing body elections in 2018”.
“Whistle-blowing reports are the source of our legitimacy,” Lewis said.