Corruption Watch finds higher abuse cases

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Johannesburg - The proportion of cases representing actual corruption reported to Corruption Watch increased from 38 percent of all cases reported in 2012 to 58 percent last year, the organisation says in its annual report published yesterday.

Corruption Watch defines actual corruption as abuse of public power and resources for personal gain.

In a survey last year, Corruption Watch found that more than 90 percent of those who reported corruption to the organisation were African, 81 percent were between the ages of 30 and 59, and 74 percent were men.

The average person who files a report is self-employed or employed in the public sector and lives in Gauteng.

They have completed secondary schooling at least, and are likely to have obtained a tertiary qualification.

The group said: “Because our corruption fighters like to get their information through radio, television and internet, it is probable that they heard about Corruption Watch from those sources.”

Corruption Watch is a non-profit organisation that was launched in 2012.

It relies on the public to report corruption to it and uses the reports as an important source to fight corruption.

It investigates selected reports of alleged acts of corruption and hands over its findings to the authorities to take further action.

The annual report says the reporting trends from 2012 and last year by province have slightly shifted, with Gauteng topping the charts at 38 percent, down from 46 percent in 2012.

KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape followed closely at 13 percent, up from 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

The Free State was the province with the most significant increase, from 7 percent in 2012 to 14 percent last year.

In 2012, South Africa was ranked 69th out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption in a number of countries.

Last year, South Africa slid down to 72nd out of the 177 countries.

Corruption Watch said of this: “This may not be a massive fall but it is an indicator of a steady decline and South Africa’s tarnished reputation for corrupt behaviour.”

The organisation says the landscape of corruption in the government shifted significantly last year.

Reports of corruption in local and national government make this an area of concern for Corruption Watch.

It says since its inception in 2012, 661, or 12 percent, of the reports it received related to allegations of corruption in schools.

Reports indicated that principals, school governing body members and to an extent teachers, were manipulating and abusing the school system and processes to enrich themselves.

Concerns reported ranged from abuse of public funds received for infrastructure maintenance and upgrading to sourcing of learning materials, funding of feeding schemes and more. - Business Report


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