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Thu Sep 29 20:43:16 CAT 2016

Corruption report tip of the iceberg‚ Hawks

Roxanne Henderson | 10 March, 2016 08:47
Corruption Watch on Wednesday launched its annual report which gave a breakdown of the complaints the organisation received in 2015. File photo
Image by: Business Times

Anti-graft organisation Corruption Watch has found corruption is rife in schools‚ traffic departments and immigration offices‚ but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

This according to Corruption Watch director David Lewis‚ who is on a crusade to get the public involved in bringing corruption to light.

Corruption Watch on Wednesday launched its annual report which gave a breakdown of the complaints the organisation received in 2015.

Of the 2382 South Africans who reported instances of corruption to the organisation last year‚ 16% of complained of corruption in schools and 12% of corruption in traffic and licensing departments.

Complaints relating to immigration‚ housing and healthcare made up 6%‚ 5% and 3% of the pie respectively.

Most complaints related to the abuse of power at 38%‚ followed by bribery which made up 20% of complaints. Procurement and employment corruption accounted for 14% and 8% of complaints respectively.

But Lewis said that many cases are not being reported to Corruption Watch‚ with some being reported elsewhere and others falling under the radar because would-be complainants may be implicated in the crime.

Lewis said corruption relating to the rules of the road and the enforcement of municipal by-laws may be endemic‚ though under-reported.

Half of Corruption Watch's complaints lodged in 2015 were from Gauteng‚ but Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said a risk assessment by the crime-busting unit showed that corruption is in fact most rife in the Eastern Cape‚ the North West‚ Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Mulaudzi also said that the high levels of corruption picked up in schools by Corruption Watch was not reflected in the Hawks' caseload. Instead‚ the Hawks are concerned about a growing trend where traffic officers confiscate motorists' drivers licenses in the hope of procuring a bribe‚ he said.

He also said the Hawks dealt with corruption at higher levels and that Corruption Watch was picking up smaller instances of corruption.

“We deal mostly with syndicates and [cases involving amounts] over R500000.

“[But] the lower levels is where the problem is. That's where it starts and grows‚” he said.

According to Dr Mispa Roux of the University of Johannesburg's law faculty‚ the secretive nature of corruption means it often goes unchecked and becomes endemic.

Lewis said marketing corruption hotlines was effective in getting people to come forward with allegations.

He said corruption in healthcare is far greater than Corruption Watch's statistics suggest and that a marketing campaign directed at this would result in more reports being lodged. – TMG Digital/TMG Courts and Law

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