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September 2013

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South Africa’s ethnic diversity is the fabric from which our colourful rainbow nation is woven and we are mainly tolerant of our differences. Visitors marvel at the street parades of wildly disparate clothing styles and food choices embedded into our daily culture.

But a more sinister culture is clawing into this happy picture. Corruption is becoming pervasive in the day-to-day lives of South Africans as bribing of public officials becomes a standard business practice. And the latest research figures are showing it.

Almost half (47%) of South Africans who came into contact with government officials paid a bribe to them in the past year. The annual transparency international global Corruption barometer revealed that of the South Africans in the survey, 74% had come into contact with police in the past 12 months, and 26% of these had paid a bribe to a policeman.

The majority of South Africans (83%) also viewed the police force as the most corrupt institution in the public sector.

In an article on moneyweb (written by Kavisha Pillay), it’s pointed out that maybe the culture of corruption has developed because there’s such a lack of adequate institutions to investigate and fight this scourge. The effective institutions such as Scorpions and the SAPS Anti-Corruption Unit were shut down. The fact that public sector corruption costs the country billions of rand every year is testament to the government’s lack of will and ability to deal with it.

Pravin gordhan said at a press conference recently: “There is no point in pointing fingers. Corruption is becoming a cultural problem in South Africa. We need to fight the culture of corruption. A culture of easy money making and not having to think hard, work hard, be clever and find an innovative way of making money.”

It is worrying that corruption in South Africa has become a culture among politicians and is taking deep root in the general population. but, there is some good news between all the bad – 9 out of 10 people surveyed said that they would act against corruption and two-thirds of those who had been asked to pay a bribe had refused.

Many among us have not been consumed by this culture of corruption – and for that we salute you. We must all stand fast for a culture of accountability and transparency in the face of an evil that can ruin us all.

Author: Gerinda Jooste

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