South Africans fed up with corruption and taking action according to the latest analysis of corruption trends released by Corruption Watch. Photo: File Picture
Cape Town - South Africans are fed up with corruption and are blowing the whistle against it loud and clear.

This is clear from the latest analysis of corruption trends released by Corruption Watch.

The report read that the number of corruption complaints received in the first half of this year went up by 9.5% compared with last year.

David Lewis, the executive director of Corruption Watch, said the report indicated that there was an escalating intolerance to corruption across all sectors of society.

“Corruption cannot be effectively tackled without an active citizenry willing to blow the whistle. Our reporting data is evidence of a courageous, committed and outraged public. This is a good portend for the future.”

The report said corruption frequently came from schools, local municipalities, the police, licensing centres and traffic departments.

The highest levels of corruption reported occurred in schools, with schools representing 9.9% of the complaints.

Schools are followed by the police, coming in at 7.6%.

The types of corruption most commonly experienced, according to the report, are bribery, embezzlement of funds, irregularities in procurement, and irregularities in employment. Bribery remains the most prevalent form of abuse of power, at least in relation to complaints received from the public.

The three metropolitan municipalities yielding the largest volume of corruption reports are those of Joburg, Tshwane, and Cape Town.

Gareth Newham, the head of the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the Institute of Security Studies, said corruption had always been a problem in South Africa, but had become much worse under President Jacob Zuma.

“Most indications are that corruption has become much worse under Zuma. The most recent Victims of Crime Survey undertaken by Statistics SA reveals that 77% of all households across the country believe that public sector corruption has gotten worse in the past three years.”

Newham said that when the most powerful politicians and business people were corrupt, corruption became endemic throughout the system.

“Not only has corruption led to more people dying violently, it has also substantially undermined the economy. Cabinet reshuffling by Zuma to allegedly promote state capture has contributed to massive disinvestment, a weakening currency and ratings downgrade. So while Zuma, his family, friends and political loyalists have grown fabulously wealthy, most people living in South Africa are more likely to be unemployed, have become poorer and are more unsafe.”

Basil Manuel, the president of the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of SA, said: “I think the vast majority of principals, because they are under such scrutiny, would never attempt it, but it is easy to accidentally fall into that trap.”

He said they had not seen any mass corruption in schools, but there were gaps for corruption to take place.

“We have some cases that have shown themselves in the feeding schemes. They are ripe for corruption.”

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Cape Argus