Cape Town - Perceived levels of corruption in South Africa remain high, according to the 2013 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), released on Tuesday.
Published by the global organisation Transparency International (TI), it ranks South Africa 72nd out of 177 countries, with a score of 42.
The CPI measures perceived levels of public sector corruption, ranking countries on a scale from nought to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
Last year, South Africa scored 43.
According to TI's website, all but five countries in the sub-Saharan region scored in the lower half of the 2013 global survey - measurements not fundamentally different to the year before.
“While (this) may give the impression of little progress, it is important to highlight that over the years, some governments have registered tangible results in relation to curbing corruption.
“In countries (such as) Cape Verde, Mauritius, Rwanda, Botswana, and Seychelles, citizens have increasingly enjoyed daily lives with limited corruption, particularly in the administration and delivery of basic services.”
In a statement on Tuesday, local civil society organisation Corruption Watch (CW) said the CPI reflected a stable, but disturbing trend for South Africa.
The country's little-changed score could be attributed to the level of outrage expressed by the public in the form of service delivery protests and eagerness to report corruption to independent civil society-based organisations.
The perceptions were also indicative of a public that had become intolerant of the abuse of public resources, and was losing trust in political, public, and business leadership.
The statement quoted CW executive director David Lewis saying there were some signs of determined action by the government to combat corruption in the public sector.
“For example, the anti-corruption measures that the department of public service and administration is attempting to put in place are commendable.”
However, these actions were countered by the continuing impunity on the part of those who were politically and financially powerful.
“The Gupta wedding saga and on-going fiasco surrounding... President (Jacob Zuma's) private Nkandla residence are indicators in the past year of impunity in operation.”
Lewis said the survey had established that perceptions of corruption in South Africa remained strong.
On the latest CPI, Denmark and New Zealand tied for first place with scores of 91.
Afghanistan, North Korea, and Somalia made up the worst performers, scoring just eight points each.
TI said its index was based on the informed views of analysts, business people, and experts in countries around the world.
It started compiling the CPI in 1993. - Sapa