Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are the provinces worst affected by corruption, with the education sector and police being the greatest sources of graft, according to Corruption Watch’s 2018 report, Upholding Democracy.
Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said this could be explained by the relatively large population of Gauteng, the scale of economic activity and the fact that national government administration was headquartered in the province.
“The trending corruption issues reported by the public over the year were abuse of power, bribery and procurement corruption, while the majority of the 4,200 corruption reports received in 2018 related to provincial government departments, followed by national departments and local government, in third place,” said Lewis.
He said, as in previous years, Gauteng recorded the most reports of corruption with 45% of the cases reported during 2018.
“After 2017 and 2016, this is the third-highest number of reports received since Corruption Watch’s launch in 2012.
“These three years account for 57% of the overall number of reports received between 2012 and 2018 and coincide with the rollout of several advocacy campaigns and high-level litigation cases,” Lewis explained.
He said the many voices reflected point to the impact of corruption on the lives of ordinary people, who suffer the most as it strips them of human dignity and access to basic human rights.
“At a broader level, the report underlines how corruption erodes the pillars of our democracy, taking hold of key institutions of accountability that should exercise oversight of our leaders, and gives rise to the kinds of abuse of power and impunity that we have witnessed as a result,” said Lewis.
He said the largest number of reports received (22%) focused on corruption in the education sector, while complaints about the South African Police Service increased from 6% in 2017 to 9% in 2018, reaching their highest level over the seven-year period.
Third on the list are reports of corruption and illegal activities at licensing centres throughout the country.
Corruption Watch said during its public engagements, it heard first-hand accounts of people who had suffered the effects of corruption in a variety of ways.
“These included abuse at the hands of the police in communities in the Western Cape, the failure of mining companies and authorities to honour the mineral rights of people living in mining towns in the North West, and the dire consequences of corruption in the Gauteng department of health for those requiring public health services,” the organisation said.