Are we really that corrupt?

By Staff Writer
The corruption perceptions index results of 2014 have been released. And maybe at no surprise to many, South Africa did not fare well.
South Africa was ranked 67 out of 175 countries. With that, we received a score of 44 out of 100 (the lower the score, the more corrupt). Topping the list in the number one position is Denmark. They received a score of 92 out of 100.
The report was based on expert opinion from around the world. The Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, and it "paints an alarming picture," said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International the company behind the report.
Expert's findings
What's worrying about the report is that no country got full marks (100 out of 100).
Maybe that is because, as a society, we are corrupt in some form or another, and all we can do is just strive to be better. Transparency International doesn't believe so. They reckon that there needs to be radical anti-corruption measures in place.
"Not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean)," highlighted Ugaz.
"Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don't export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries," said Ugaz.
Local opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) was also not happy with the results, stating that the scandals which have shook the country this year, are all affecting our international perception badly.
"Clearly, the multiple scandals engulfing President Zuma and his administration has affected South Africa's perception in the world. We are now perceived to be a generally corrupt country in the eyes of the world.
"The Nkandla scandal, Guptagate, the Spy Satellite saga, the Arms Deal and the Spy Tapes Saga are all examples of high-profile and embarrassing instances of corruption that has tarnished our international reputation as a good investment destination," said Sejamothopo Motau, shadow minster for the presidency.
Government's response
However, as one would imagine, the South African government was not too pleased with the media coverage of the results.
"Such misleading media reports are unhelpful in building the country but are feeding into a pessimistic outlook that can only damage our national psyche and prospects for economic growth," acting director general of the communication department Donald Liphoko said in a statement.
Government acknowledged "there is a level of corruption across society" but pointed out that there are a number of measures in place to tackle the problem.
Such measures include the Promotion of Access to Information Act and the Promotion of Access to Justice Act which were passed to create an "accountable, responsive government."
"This is further strengthened by the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (2004), and the introduction of the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act. South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption," said Liphoko.
Report card
But opposition parties argue that these Acts aren't doing what they need to. The DA's yearly report card was released, ranking President Jacob Zuma a 1 out of 10.
"The reality is that President Zuma is failing as President of our country and the majority of the Ministers in his cabinet are failing as well," said the DA.
The DA awarded President Zuma only 1 out of 10, because of the R30 billion lost to fraud and corruption annually.
"President Zuma must renounce corruption and support all investigations into corrupt officials and politicians, including those into his own affairs," said the DA.
The DA added: "President Zuma must clear the air, and answer on all the scandals that have affected his administration. For starters, he must come to Parliament and answer all questions openly and honestly. He must pay back the money he owes on Nkandla and he must disclose all details of the ongoing nuclear deal with Russia," said Motau.
Corruption is a problem in our country. Coming clean about it would be a start, but we have a long way to go if we were to tackle it head on and if we were not to report on it, as the government requests, then we'd be sticking our head in the sands for longer.

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