Perceptions of corruption in SA have grown over last 20 years - IRR

Perceptions of corruption in South Africa have deepened over the past two decades, the Institute for Race Relations (IRR) said on Thursday.

It appeared that these perceptions were largely affected by developments on the domestic front, said IRR analyst Kerwin Lebone.

The IRR collected data on corruption and fraud from different sources for its annual SA Survey, including the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

The CPI looked at the perceptions that experts and business people have of public sector corruption.

A score of 0 was highly corrupt and 100 was very clean.

South Africa's score dropped from 45 in 2017 to 43 this year. 

Lebone said that South Africa’s ranking on the CPI had dropped from 21 to 64 between 1995 and 2016.

The last time the score was above 50 was in 2000, "after which its decline may have been the result of revelations arising from the arms deal scandal of that time".

South Africa’s lowest score on the CPI was in 2011, "in the aftermath of disclosures of possible corrupt activities surrounding the construction of former president Jacob Zuma’s private residence at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal".

Lebone said that the decline in South Africa’s ranking was partially influenced by the fact that the number of countries being surveyed had increased substantially between 1995 and 2016.

The IRR’s 2018 SA Survey included data about corruption and fraud in the public and private sectors from other sources.

An annual report of the Public Service Commission showed that there had been an 11.2% increase in the number of corruption cases reported against government officials, through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, between 2015 and 2016. 

Investor sentiment was significantly influenced by corruption perceptions, said Lebone.

"This is especially significant for South Africa at a time when it must rely on investment to boost economic growth in order to meet the growing demand for jobs and services."

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