Increase in reports of corruption in 2017 - Corruption Watch

Former president Jacob Zuma will face corruption charges. (AFP, file)
Former president Jacob Zuma will face corruption charges. (AFP, file)

Corruption Watch has received a record number of complaints last year since its inception in 2012, and the organisation has highlighted the role which civil society, the media and an independent judiciary had made in fighting corruption.

In its latest report released on Wednesday, entitled The Time is Now, the organisation said 5 334 complaints were lodged in 2017 - 25% more than the previous year.

The report notes how, over the past decade under former president Jacob Zuma's rule, key institutions such as the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the National Treasury, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Hawks had experienced an onslaught.

READ: SARS 'rogue unit' officials to appear in court, after withdrawing urgent application

"Individuals and institutions implicated in state capture and other nefarious activities have been left untouched, despite strong indications of wrongdoing," said chairperson Mavuso Msimang.

"Poor leadership has crippled the [NPA] that seems to have found its teeth only after the departure of Zuma," he said.

'Danger remains'

Msimang said society should remain vigilant and continue putting pressure on the new administration to ensure that the integrity of key institutions, such as the NPA and SARS, were restored.

"Failing that, the danger remains that corrupt officials will continue to abuse institutions that were set up with the intention of protecting the interest of the people," he said.

The report said nearly 50% of all complaints received emanated from Gauteng. Of the total, 30% related to corruption at provincial government level, 29% at national level, and 22% at local government level.

The report further revealed that there was 9% alleged corruption in the private sector, while the remaining 10% was unspecified.

The Time is Now shows how South Africa dropped two points in the last year on the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, to 71 out of 180 countries.

David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, said it was important to remember what got South Africa "into this hole in the first place and what it has taken to get back to our feet again".

"In the face of the atrocities of the Zuma administration, civil society began to revive itself. We, together with other sectors of society, notably the courts and the media, are responsible for the light at the end of the dark tunnel through which we have travelled these past years," he said.

"If we want to ensure that this trashing of our public resources and abuse of public power does not happen again, we must remain vigilant."

Lewis said any government was only as good as its citizens were demanding of it.

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