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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Corruption Watch refutes Ramaphosa’s claim of declining corruption

Ramaphosa said "commentators like Corruption Watch have said that during this term, they have seen incidents of corruption going down".

Corruption Watch has refuted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s claim that corruption has gone down under his watch.

Ramaphosa made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview with 702 on Tuesday in the context of listing his administration’s anti-corruption “successes” and institutional reforms.

The president said “commentators like Corruption Watch have said that during this term, they have seen incidents of corruption going down”.

He said the government has “learned a lot of lessons over time” about corruption and how to deal with it.

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Corruption Watch “objects to being referenced in this way as part of an electioneering campaign”.

The organisation emphasised that the number of reports it receives or the research it does is in no way a conclusive overview of the entire corruption situation in South Africa but is merely one facet of the whole.

Karam Singh, executive director of Corruption Watch said there are many factors at “play when we speak about reports and trends of corruption in South Africa”.

“While the number of reports received by our organisation may have declined in recent years, this is in no way a reflection of either the state of corruption in the country, or the progress in fighting it.

“On the contrary, it would be safe to say that the levels of corruption have been on an upward trajectory for over a decade, as evidenced in tools such as the Corruption Perceptions Index, and that despite the numerous organisations and institutions now doing their best to tackle the problem, the battle has not been won,” said Singh.

False information ahead of elections

Corruption Watch recently issued an opinion piece on the issue of mis/dis-information being used for political ends, titled ‘Elections and the Dirty Game of Disinformation’.

The article, it said, makes clear the ways in which organisations with strong anti-corruption profiles, such as Corruption Watch, can find their names and information being misused to peddle narratives that are self-serving and lack credibility.

“It references a specific example in which a user on X distorted figures and content from the 2023 annual report, presenting this disinformation as having been generated by Corruption Watch, with the aim of demonstrating that corruption cases had dropped during the current administration,” it said.

“Corruption Watch takes seriously its role as an independent anti-corruption civil society organisation and will continue to be vigilant in debunking messages of this nature that attempt to distort its work and co-opt its name for political gain,” the organisation said.

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