It’s easy to assume corruption is deep-seated in the fabric of South Africa when some South Africans have lived to see more than one drawn-out commission take place.
Despite the numerous commissions, South Africa has stagnated in its efforts to deal with the scourge of corruption.
The latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released by Transparency International found that several countries have made little to no progress in improving levels of corruption. In 2012, South Africa received a score of 43 out of a hundred and ranked 69th out of 176 countries reviewed. Almost a decade later, the country scored 44 out of a hundred and ranks 70th out of 180 countries.
“weakened law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies that were hollowed out during years of state capture have contributed to the erosion of public confidence that corrupt officials will be held accountable,” the report found.
“It is extremely disheartening to find ourselves, year after year, in the same position on the CPI, with marginal shifts up or down. The poor perceptions of how South Africa 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,” said Karam Singh, executive director of Corruption Watch.
On Tuesday, the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) released a report following an 18-month investigation into contracts entered into by the government to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Money Web “About 62% or 2 803 of the 4 549 contract investigations finalised by the Special Investigating Unit into Covid-19 related procurement by all spheres of government has been found to be irregular”. The SIU still has to complete investigations into 18 percent of contracts submitted for inquiry.
“As a civil society organisation working relentlessly 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,” he continued.
According to Transparency International, “sustainable progress on anti-corruption can only be achieved if societal and institutional checks on power are ensured”.