The public’s perception of corruption took a nosedive of late, with many South Africans believing corruption has worsened during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s tenure.
When Ramaphosa assumed office in February 2018, he promised to restore government integrity and tackle the age of corruption left behind by former president Jacob Zuma.
Corruption in South Africa
Trust in Ramaphosa faltering
However, the latest Afrobarometer report shows 64% of South Africans believe corruption increased during the past year, while 49% believed it increased by a large margin.
With most state institutions seen as corrupt, approximately 70% of South Africans surveyed said government was performing “fairly badly” or “very badly”.
In response to the survey, the Presidency acknowledged corruption and its effects remained one of South Africa’s “greatest challenges”.
The Presidency said: “Perceptions of corruption are no doubt the result of the prominence of specific cases of corruption in the public space.”
However, government said work was being done – such as investigations, trials and disciplinary proceedings – to bring “several high-profile cases of alleged corruption have been brought to courts”.
The Presidency said “there is much more work to be done to fight corruption”, but added that there was “clear evidence that after years of impunity, progress is being made in bringing those responsible to account”.
Tackling corruption head-on
Ramaphosa is said to have implemented the following measures since assuming office in 2018:
- A change in boards and executive management in several “captured” state owned enterprises
- A Commission of Inquiry into Sars found severe governance and operational failures
- The appointment of new leadership at the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks)
- A High-Level Panel on the State Security Agency was appointed towards rebuilding and restoring integrity of intelligence services
- The Mpati Commission of Inquiry into allegations of impropriety at the Public Investment Corporation was established
- The appointment of advocate Shamila Batohi as the new national director of public prosecutions
- The SIU Special Tribunal was appointed to expedite civil claims against corrupt individuals
- The NPA’s Investigating Directorate was established to focus on prosecution of state capture
- A Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum was launched to identify, investigate and prosecute corruption in the health sector.
- The Zondo commission regulations were amended to enable sharing of information and resources with NPA.
- A Fusion Centre was established to strengthen collective efforts among law-enforcement agencies to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute Covid-19-related criminal activities.
- Ramaphosa authorised the SIU to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of Covid-19 funds across all spheres of the state.