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SA stagnant in its efforts to curb corruption: study

25 January 2022 - 13:55
South Africa has, according to a new study, not made any efforts to combat corruption. Stock photo.
South Africa has, according to a new study, not made any efforts to combat corruption. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Thodonal

SA has for the past 10 years not made strides to combat corruption, a new study reveals.

Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released on Tuesday, ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people.

The index relies on 13 independent data sources and uses a scale of zero to 100, with zero being highly corrupt and 100 very clean.

According to the study, SA, along with many other countries in the world, has stagnated in its efforts to curb corruption over the past 10 years.

In 2012 the country scored 43, ranking 69th out of 176 countries assessed that year.

Fast-forward to 2021, and the country sits at a dismal 44, the same as last year, dropping one place in rank to 70 out of the now 180 countries.

The highest score SA got over the past decade was 45, while the lowest was 42 on the 2013 index.

This year, the top countries are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, each with a score of 88.

Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany complete the top 10.

“It is extremely disheartening to find ourselves, year after year, in the same position on the CPI, with marginal shifts up or down,” said Karam Singh, executive director at Corruption Watch.

“The poor perceptions of how SA is faring in its efforts to truly tackle and dismantle the systems that enable corruption are perhaps to be expected, when one considers the staggering levels of corruption we have witnessed.

We can only hope that recent developments to bring corruption to the fore in the country will result in swift and effective prosecutions.
Karam Singh, executive director at Corruption Watch

“As a civil society organisation working to expose the gaps that enable corruption, and find solutions for creating a society free from this scourge, we can only hope that recent developments to bring corruption to the fore in the country will result in swift and effective prosecutions, and a restoration of public confidence in the political will to end impunity and lack of accountability.”

The CPI also shows that 86% of countries have made little-to-no progress in the last 10 years — a trend it highlighted as concerning.

SA is alongside Jamaica and Tunisia on the index, and comes in at number eight on the regional table of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.

The average score for SSA countries is 33, one point higher than last year, demonstrating again that there have been no significant changes in addressing corruption in the region.

“Again Somalia (13) and South Sudan (11) fall at the bottom of both the SSA and the global index, which also includes Syria at 13.

“While countries like the Seychelles may have gained on the SSA table, these positive changes are eclipsed by the region’s poor performance overall, with 44 of the 49 countries still scoring below 50,” the report reads.

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