Sun Dec 04 14:18:40 SAST 2016

Not paying bribes could save lives: Ethics Institute

Roxanne Henderson | 2016-11-29 12:46:31.0

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The majority of bribes paid in South Africa this year related to road use‚ and cutting down on these could save lives.

That’s according to the results of the second South African Citizens' Bribery Survey by the Ethics Institute of South Africa and Massmart‚ launched in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The Ethics Institute's chief executive officer‚ Professor Deon Rossouw‚ said that while the average price of a bribe paid in the country is R2 200‚ the most common bribe was the exchange of a R50 or R100 note – sometimes to get out of a traffic infringement.

The survey showed that the top reason for paying a bribe in 2016 was to avoid traffic fines‚ accounting for 36% of bribes paid in the year. This is up 2% from the figure for 2015.

Furthermore‚ 15% of bribes paid in the 2016 survey were to secure a driver’s licence.

“As in 2015‚ the majority of bribes were related to road use. The combination of bribes to avoid traffic fines‚ and bribes to get driver’s licences came to 51% of bribes.

“If these relatively contained areas of bribery could be reduced‚ it would make a tremendous impact on people’s experiences of bribery‚ and more importantly‚ on South Africa's high number of road deaths‚” the report said.

Rossouw said‚ though the link seems tenuous‚ refusing reckless drivers and those who have not prepared adequately for a driving test the chance to pay a bribe to get out of trouble could save lives.

He said the Ethics Institute would consider sharing the survey's findings with traffic departments and metro police in order to help curb transgressions on the roads.

Other reasons for paying bribes in 2016 were getting jobs - 18%‚ getting discounts or freebies from businesses - 7%‚ and tenders - 6%.

People also paid bribes to speed up government services like those from the Department of Home Affairs‚ to get qualifications‚ for housing or land and for social grants or pensions.

The survey found that while people are paying bribes‚ far more are choosing not to.

Of the sixty percent who refused to pay bribes;

  • 50% refused to pay for moral reasons
  • 13% refused because they couldn't afford to
  • 11% feared consequences.

– TMG Digital

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