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SA ranks 73rd in global corruption survey

Former South African President Jacob Zuma appears in court during his ongoing corruption case held at the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 30 November 2018. EPA-EFE/ROGAN WARD / POOL

South Africa ranked 73 rd out of 180 countries that participated in a Transparency International (TI) survey - which ranks participating countries according to their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.

TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, which gave South Africa a score of 43 – the same score earned in 2017 – was shared by Corruption Watch.

The index is considered to be the leading global indicator of public sector corruption, which uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

South Africa remains in the group of countries that scored below 50.

According to the TI index, the sub-Saharan African region is still the worst performing region. The organisation links this performance to stark political and socio-economic contrasts.

It says even though African leaders declared 2018 as the African year of anti-corruption, that commitment did not translate into concrete progress.

Corruption Watch’s Executive Director David Lewis said that South Africa’s experience of state capture was a textbook example of the relationship between corruption and the undermining of democracy.

“We have seen how in order to loot public funds, the perpetrators have had to undermine those key pillars of democracy that are responsible for holding those in power to account,” Lewis said.

“The undermining of Parliament and criminal justice institutions are key cases in point. We have also seen how institutions that reflect the strength of our democracy, such as civil society organisations, the media and the courts have been critical features of the fightback against state capture,” Lewis added.

He said it was critical for “concrete action to follow the verbal commitments to fighting corruption” and for strong and bold measures to be employed to remove corrupt officials from public office to create an environment where corruption is not tolerated and cannot flourish. DM

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