There have been several recent incidents of police being arrested for accepting bribes or working with criminals in South Africa. A report by international watchdog organisation Corruption Watch has now earmarked police as being the leading source of corruption in the country.
More than 1 591 whistleblowers who have exposed corruption across South Africa’s different sectors contributed towards the report.
The latest Analysis of Corruption Trends Report, which is released biannually, revealed that currently, corruption in the police sector has overtaken other sector’s corruption levels for the first time. These include the school, health and local government sectors.
According to the organisation, the increase in corruption reports in both the police and health sectors may most likely be the result of focused Corruption Watch campaigns in these areas that are intended to expose systemic corruption challenges.
For the South African Police Services (SAPS), for example, the leading forms of corruption are bribery and abuse of power. These contribute 30.6% and 35.7% respectively.
“If we are to tackle corruption, and many other social ills like gender-based violence it is necessary that there be trust in the police,” said David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch said in the report. “But the police have to earn that trust. By providing a mechanism for accountability we are hoping to contribute to building trust between the communities and the police.”
The report also stipulates that SAPS corruption accounts for 9.2% of all corruption reported in South African sectors. Schools contribute the second-highest corruption percentage, with 8.4%.
Municipal-related corruption is at 6.4%, while health centres add 3.6%. Forms of corruption reported at licensing centres add 3.4%.
Of all the provinces, Gauteng submitted the highest number of reports of corruption, while KwaZulu-Natal comes in second. The Western Cape and Limpopo tie in third place.
The City of Cape Town Municipality contributed 4.3% of overall corruption reports.