Increase in reports of corruption received by Corruption Watch in 2017

04 April 2018 - 14:54
By Ernest Mabuza
Image: 123rf/ Allan Swart

Corruption Watch said it received 5‚334 reports of corruption in 2017‚ an increase from the 4‚391 reports it received in 2016.

The organisation said the report‚ titled The Time is Now‚ painted a picture of a more emboldened and vocal public‚ as evidenced by the 25% increase in the number of reports of corruption in 2017.

David Lewis‚ executive director of Corruption Watch‚ said 2017 was a landmark year but it was only reached with great effort on the part of civil society‚ the media and an independent judiciary.

“Above all‚ it was achieved by an active and vigilant public. Corruption cannot be overcome without those who are willing to blow the whistle. They are the true heroes‚” Lewis said.

The report said since Corruption Watch was formed in 2012‚ it had received a cumulative total of 20‚306 reports on corruption.

In 2017‚ 30% of the reports alleged that corruption was taking place at provincial government level‚ which includes departments that focus on schools and housing‚ and 29% of reports alleged that corruption was taking place at national government level‚ which includes the police service.

The report said 22% of reports were taking place at local government level‚ 9% in the private sector and 10% of corruption could not be classified.

It said most corruption took place at the interface between the public and the private sectors.

In the many reports that Corruption Watch received on procurement corruption‚ whistleblowers noted that businesses (private individuals) bribed the members of a bid committee (public officials).

The report said of great relevance to South Africa was that the same relationship was evident where private business interests had captured public office.

“It is important to note that both the private interest that is doing the capturing and the public office or public servant that allows itself to be captured are guilty of corruption‚” the report said.

The report said bribery (27%) was the most frequent form of corruption reported‚ while embezzlement of funds (13%)‚ came in at second place‚ closely followed by procurement irregularities (12%).

The report also highlighted the areas of work undertaken by Corruption Watch during 2017.

This included the landmark litigation outcomes‚ such as the Pretoria High Court judgment in December in an application brought by Corruption Watch‚ Freedom Under Law and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution.

In that case‚ the high court ruled that the settlement agreement that led to the removal of Mxolisi Nxasana as National Director of Public Prosecutions was unlawful and that the termination of his appointment was invalid and set aside.

The report said the strides made in exposing corruption in the public and private sectors during 2017 must continue in 2018 and beyond.

“We call on the public to continue reporting corruption to us. We owe our democracy to the vigilance and tenacity of our people. Increased vigilance is the duty we continue to owe to our democracy‚” Lewis said.