Motorists forced to pay metro police hefty fines or small bribes: report

Housing officials demand sex for RDP homes, says Corruption Watch

18 August 2021 - 13:11 By iavan pijoos
According to the report 'South Africa Needs Clean Hands' released by Corruption Watch, complaints relating to metro police revealed that most common forms of corruption were bribery (70%), abuse of power (12%) and maladministration (5%).
According to the report 'South Africa Needs Clean Hands' released by Corruption Watch, complaints relating to metro police revealed that most common forms of corruption were bribery (70%), abuse of power (12%) and maladministration (5%).
Image: Reuben Goldberg

Whistle-blowers claim motorists in Johannesburg are harassed when they admit to driving under the influence of alcohol, and male officials working in local government housing departments allegedly demand sex in return for RDP homes.  

According to the report, “South Africa Needs Clean Hands” released by Corruption Watch on Wednesday, complaints relating to metro police officers revealed that the most common forms of corruption were bribery (70%), abuse of power (12%) and maladministration (5%).

In Johannesburg, Corruption Watch’s whistle-blowers claimed motorists who admit to having driven under the influence of alcohol are given a choice to either pay hefty fines or “small” bribes.

A whistle-blower said at OR Tambo International Airport, in the City of Ekurhuleni, officers have a “corrupt system” which drew a distinction between locals and tourists.

“When it has been determined a person is a tourist, they are scammed into making large payments after undergoing an illegitimate process of verifying whether the person is eligible to drive in SA.”

Between 2012 and 2020, Corruption Watch received 32,998 whistle-blower reports, of which 16% contained allegations of corruption within local spheres of government.

The report found the municipalities most implicated in corruption-related reports were:

  • City of Johannesburg with 700 reports; followed by
  • Ekurhuleni with 354 reports;
  • City of Tshwane with 325;
  • eThekwini with 166; and
  • City of Cape Town with 25 reports.

The most corruption happened in the offices of the municipal manager (34%). Local metro police departments were implicated in 30% of the reports, followed by housing and human settlements with 10%. These represent the top three hotspots for corruption in local government, according to the report.

The report found common forms of corruption in housing departments are irregularities in the awarding of RDP homes (45%), abuse of power (16%) and fraud (15%).

Corruption Watch’s whistle-blowers said corruption has worsened the backlog problems experienced by those who have applied for subsidised housing.

It is almost impossible to find a single municipality where applicants are not complaining about the long waiting lists or, in some instances, claiming their names are moved further down the RDP housing list because they are unwilling or unable to pay a bribe to an official.
'South Africa Needs Clean Hands' report released by Corruption Watch

“It is almost impossible to find a single municipality where applicants are not complaining about the long waiting lists or, in some instances, claiming their names are moved further down the list because they are unwilling or unable to pay a bribe to an official.”

In most cases, based on community engagements, the report found male officials attempted to extort sex from female beneficiaries in return for RDP houses.

“In other reports, it is said that without adhering to processes, officials sell plots of land or properties to businesses and/or private persons for financial gain.

“This is apparently a common practice in metropolitan municipalities. We have also received allegations of contractors building substandard houses, and whistle-blowers have complained about the structures’ walls cracking, doors falling off hinges and windows not fitted properly,” the report stated.

Melusi Ncala, researcher and author of the report, said the result of corruption in local government is that “once again, the most vulnerable are left destitute or fending for themselves, and are again denied their socio-economic rights.

“South Africans will be heading to the polls. Part of the task of electing new leadership has been simplified by the troubling whistle-blower stories documented in this report.

“The electorate’s duty is to identify, in their own communities, persons with integrity who are ethical and have social consciences and elect them to office,” Ncala said.

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