Johannesburg – Transparency International’s rating of South Africa in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index indicated a significant problem, Corruption Watch said on Wednesday.
The non-profit organisation said that South Africa scored 44 out of 100.
The lower the score the more corrupt a country is perceived to be.
Of the 175 countries scored, South Africa ranked 67th. Last year South Africa scored 42 and was ranked 72nd out of 177.
Corruption is endemic
Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said it would be a serious mistake to draw any comfort from the fact that South Africa had not slipped further in the index.
“Not far below us on the index are countries where corruption is endemic and where little can be done to turn around corruption.”
He said some key South African institutions showed characteristics of endemic corruption.
“Think of our criminal justice institutions. And think of the impunity enjoyed by leading public sector and private sector individuals, with the continuing Nkandla fiasco the clearest example of impunity enjoyed by the politically powerful.”
He was referring to controversy surrounding R246m in so-called security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma‘s private home in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.
Zuma claimed he did not ask for the refurbishments at his Nkandla home, which included a helipad, a swimming pool, an amphitheatre, and a chicken coop.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended in her report on the matter that Zuma repay a portion of the public funds spent on the upgrade.
“Indeed, given the growing controversy surrounding Nkandla and given the contempt displayed by the political and public sector leadership for a resolute anti-corruption fighter like the Public Protector, had the survey been conducted today, we may well have landed up with a significantly lower score.”
Based on factors
The Inkatha Freedom Party said stronger measures were needed to tackle corruption.
“There is a need for a change of mindset to ensure zero tolerance to corruption,” IFP national chairperson Blessed Gwala said in a statement.
The party was concerned about court rulings being influenced.
“Another influence which may lead to court decisions being based on factors other than the facts and applicable law is a fear of retribution by powerful individuals,” Gwala said.
The IFP said corrupt office bearers should be expelled from government.
“Another deterrent that would work is legislation that enables repossession of owned assets to compensate for the loss suffered by victims of corruption.”
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