In any country where corruption reporting increases 25% in a single year, there would be cause for serious worry.
However, in South Africa, we see that statistic – released this week by Corruption Watch in its 2017 report – as a sign of hope.
That is because it does not necessarily mean corruption is increasing – it means that people are becoming more willing to blow the whistle.
Corruption Watch says the increase in reporting “documents the extent to which growing public pressure on corrupt people and systems has contributed to the significant changes in South Africa”.
Yet, while Cyril Ramaphosa has already made it plain he is tackling the grand corruption of the state capture variety; it is worrying that the Corruption Watch report highlights the insidious disease at a lower level, where it impacts the lives of ordinary people directly.
Complaints about corruption in schools accounted for 15% of all whistleblower reports, while those about the police, traffic and licensing accounted for a further 11% and housing 4%. Those are cornerstone areas for a stable society so the levels are a cause for concern.
South Africans must realise that corruption happens not only in a compound in Saxonwold, it happens in their own streets…