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Corruption: The latest victim of the economy

South African money: Stock Photo
South African money: Stock Photo
Image: Stock Photo

Even corruption is suffering in the current economic climate‚ according to a survey by The Ethics Institute.

The institute found that the average bribe in South Africa declined to R1‚550 in 2017‚ down from R2‚200 in 2016 and R2‚005 in 2015.

Most bribes were paid for traffic offences (39%)‚ driver’s licences (18%)‚ to secure jobs (14%)‚ to receive public services (8%) and to avoid criminal charges (7%).

Respondents said EFF leader Julius Malema was the most committed to busting corruption‚ followed by his DA counterpart Mmusi Maimane.

Malema got the vote of one in five participants (18%) while Maimane scored 17% in the 2017 South African Citizens’ Bribery Survey.

No other leader got more than 10% of mentions.

Participants thought the DA was the party that fights corruption the most at 45%‚ followed by the EFF at 28% and the ANC at 19%.

“This is the first time that bribes for police matters and criminal charges are in the top five. Avoiding traffic offences has been the most common type of bribe for three years in a row‚” researchers said.

This is the third year the institute conducted the survey. The sample group consisted of 4‚962 participants. The institute said they were a “largely representative” sample of the South African population in terms of race and household income. The participants live in Gauteng‚ KwaZulu-Natal‚ Western Cape‚ Limpopo and Free State.

Almost four out of 10 participants (37%) said they knew someone who had been approached for a bribe in the past year. More than three out of 10 participants (35%) refused to pay a bribe‚ with almost half (47%) citing “moral or religious reasons”.

The average bribe to secure a tender was R82‚282.

Seven out of 10 South Africans (71%) said they would vote for another political party if they thought their party was enabling corruption.

Professor Deon Rossouw‚ chief executive of The Ethics Institute‚ said researchers noticed that leaders affect the ethical environment in the country.

“People look to leaders to role model desirable behaviour‚” Rossouw said.

The survey found that 45% of lower-income respondents believed it was “impossible” to navigate daily life without paying bribes. Lower-income was defined as earning less than R200‚000 per year.

Only 29% of respondents in the higher-income group believed the same. Higher-income is defined as earning more than R800‚000 per year.

Rossouw said: “The data suggests that the poor are more impacted by bribery than the rich‚ which is consistent with previous years’ findings. It seems that the dividing line is at a household income of R400‚000 per year. Those below that line find it significantly more difficult to avoid paying bribes.”


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