Corruption remains prevalent in South Africa as the newly released Corruption Index Report for 2018 reveals – with the overall score staying the same since last year.

Transparency International, a global civil society organisation, releases an annual report drawing on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure the public sector corruption in 180 countries.

Each country is given an overall score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) and is analysed to provide a ranking on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).

Overall, the report has found that most countries are failing to control corruption and this is directly “contributing to a crisis of democracy”.

South Africa has been ranked at 73 with an overall score of 43 for 2018 and in the previous year the country ranked at 71 and maintained the same score on the CPI.

The country has moved ahead in ranking and Transparency International has earmarked South Africa as a ‘country to watch’ due to its promising political developments, despite ranking as ‘averagely corrupt’.

The report has based its findings on several factors including the impacts of the change of political administration and the influence of social media on the level of corruption in the country.

“Under President Ramaphosa, the administration has taken additional steps to address anti-corruption on a national level, including through the work of the Anti-Corruption Inter-Ministerial Committee. Although the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) has been in place for years, the current government continues to build momentum for the strategy by soliciting public input,” the report states.

Although there are new commissions of inquiry such as the Zondo Commission, which focuses on state capture and a second that focuses on tax administration and governance of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) which has increased surveillance of corruption, the report remains skeptical on their long term impact.

“Given that previous commissions of inquiry produced few results, the jury is still out on whether the new administration will yield more positive change.”

There is promising and noticeable citizen engagement in South Africa towards the fight against corruption. The report says that social media is helping to mobilize citizens in the country to report acts of corruption.

“Corruption Watch, our chapter in South Africa, has seen a rise in the number of people reporting corruption on Facebook and WhatsApp,” Transparency International says.

Some of the most corrupt countries include Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, while the least corrupt countries are New Zealand and Denmark.

The United States of America has dropped out of the top 20 for the first time since 2011, scoring 71 and Brazil has earned its lowest overall score in seven years at 35.

To tackle corruption and stenghten democracy, the Transparency Corruption has the following tips for government: 

– Strengthen institutions that are responsible for maintain checks and balances over political power and ensure they are able to operate without intimidation

-The gap between the implementation of anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement must be closed.

-Civil society organisations which increase political engagement and public oversight on government spending on a local level must be supported.

-The support of a free and independent media, ensure the safety of journalist and their ability to work without intimidation or harassment.

Picture: Pexels

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