Survey shows more South Africans tempted by bribes

Cape Town – The number of South Africans being asked for a bribe has increased in the past year, the 2017 South African Citizens’ Bribery Survey revealed on Wednesday.

Conducted by the Ethics Institute, the survey found that 37% of respondents know someone who was has been asked for a bribe in the past year, up 4% from 2016.

The average bribe amount was R1 550, down by R650 from last year, while the average bribe amount for a tender was R82 282, the survey showed.

The top five most common types of bribes are to avoid traffic offences (39%); to obtain a driver’s licence (18%); to secure a job (14%); to receive a public service (8%); and to avoid police or criminal charges (7%), the survey found.

“This is the first time that bribes for police matters and criminal charges are in the top five. Avoiding traffic offences has been the most common type of bribe for three years in a row,” the Ethics Institute said in a statement.

Now in its third year, the survey was conducted with 4 962 respondents in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Limpopo and the Free State.

Malema and Maimane most committed to fighting corruption

It found that seven out of 10 people would change their vote if they perceived their political party to be enabling bribery and corruption.

Respondents perceived the Democratic Alliance as the party that is most committed to combating corruption (45%), followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters (28%) and the ANC (19%). EFF leader Julius Malema and DA leader Mmusi Maimane were identified as the leaders most committed to combating corruption, with 18% and 17% of mentions respectively. No other leader received more than 10% of mentions.

The Ethics Institute said that 35% of respondents said “no” to paying a bribe in the past (up 8% from 2016), while almost half (47%) of all people who have said “no” to bribes did so because of moral or religious reasons.

The survey also compared, among other things, how the different income groups experience bribery.

The results show that 45% of lower-income respondents (with annual household income of less than R200 000) thought it was impossible to navigate daily life without paying a bribe, while only 29% of the higher-income group (with annual household income of more than R800 000) believe the same.

Bribery for drivers’ licences was 13% higher for lower-income respondents, while higher-income respondents experienced 21% more bribery related to avoiding traffic offences.  

“The data suggests that the poor are more impacted by bribery than the rich, which is consistent with previous years’ findings,” said Ethics Institute CEO Professor Deon Rossouw.

“It seems that the dividing line is at a household income of R400 000 per year. Those below that line find it significantly more difficult to avoid paying bribes. Bribes for jobs, social grants and basic services are likely to affect this segment more.”

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