We like to bribe

Johannesburg - Bribery in South Africa looks like it is getting worse, according to a survey conducted by the Ethics Institute.

“There seems to be an upward trend in the number of bribes solicited and the number of bribes paid,” say the authors of the SA Citizens’ Bribery Survey 2017.

The survey was released this week and paid for by Massmart.

In the survey, bribery is defined as one person giving another something of value, usually money, for that person to abuse the powers they have been entrusted with.

The percentage of people who know someone who was asked for a bribe rose from 26% in 2015 to 33% in 2016 and 37% in 2017, the survey shows.

The majority of bribes are related to traffic offences and obtaining driver’s licences.

“This implies that many fatal accidents should be preventable if we could do something about these bribes,” the survey says.

Bribes relating to police and criminal matters made it into the top five bribe types this year.

“In a country where crime rates are so high, the fact that you can pay a bribe to avoid justice is a major concern. The fact that this is becoming normalised is catastrophic.”

The survey found that the poor are more affected by bribery than the rich.

“It seems the dividing line is drawn at a household income of R400 000 per year. Those below that line find it significantly more difficult to avoid paying bribes.”

The survey found that people care about the commitment of political parties to fighting corruption. However, politicians are rated the worst at combating corruption.

About half of those South Africans surveyed believe that it is possible to get by without paying bribes.

More than a quarter of bribes are less than R100 and 90% of bribes are less than R5 000.

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