Levels of corruption on the rise in Africa

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

A recent report has indicated that a whopping 83% of South Africans believe that corruption is on the rise.

A shocking report recently released by Transparency International has estimated that 75 million Africans have paid a bribe in the last year and the majority of those polled say that corruption is on the rise on the continent.

The survey polled 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015. The majority (58 percent) of Africans in the surveyed countries say corruption has increased over the past 12 months. In 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption.

The report highlights that the poor are particularly burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country and 22 percent of the respondents who had dealings with a public service over the last year said they had paid a bribe.

People who came into contact with the courts and police force were most likely to have handed over cash. A staggering 28 percent of those polled who had dealings with a court had paid a bribe while 27 percent of those who had dealings with the police ended up paying hush money. The report found that poor people, particularly those who lived in an urban area and who used public services, were twice as likely to pay a bribe.

While it needs to be remembered that the survey polled those living throughout the African continent, it was found that 58 percent believed corruption had increased over the past year. This was particularly the case in South Africa where a whopping 83 percent of the respondents said that corruption was on the rise.

One of the quickest ways to stamp out corruption in the public sector is to refuse to pay a bribe and/or report those who attempt to solicit money illegally. However, it has been found that only 10 percent of those who paid a bribe reported it to the relevant authorities.

Many people felt that they were unable to contribute to the fight against corruption. Just over half of those polled (53 percent) believed they could help reduce corruption while 38 percent didn’t think that there was anything they could do.

As South Africans we come face to face with corruption every day. Whether we experience it first hand or by hearing it on the news – it’s out there and it's affecting us and the economy badly.

Crime is rife in this country and although we hear that the South African Police Service is attempting to clean up its act and arrest those who attempt to solicit bribes to, among other things, quash charges for murder, corruption is still a huge problem within the force. This is extremely problematic particularly when it comes to house robberies. A recent report in the Rand Daily Mail quoted Gareth Newham, a director of the Institute for Security Studies as saying that since relatively few people commit a large proportion of robberies, higher arrest and conviction rates could cut the robbery rate significantly. He also noted that robberies are known as being the "most feared crime" in the country.

Organised crime is a growing problem and police spokesman, Solomon Makgale says what complicates the policing of crime syndicates is identifying the root of any crime ring – more often than not police are only able to catch the runners and middlemen.

However, he admits that this becomes difficult when members of the police are involved. The report also notes that while the police rely on the private sector to provide information on crime, high levels of police corruption mean that information given to the police can easily be leaked to the syndicates involved.

Levels of crime invariably increase over the festive period and criminals who are intent on robbing your home will go to great lengths to do so. There are however, ways to curb crime and these include:

  • Joining a neighbourhood watch and reporting any suspicious activities in the neighbourhood.

  • If possible become friends with your neighbours, alerting them if you are going away.

  • Employ a security company that is highly visible in the area in which you live.

  • Check that your alarm system is in working order and connected to your security company.

  • Ensure the outside of your property is well lit.

  • Install security gates on all entrances to the home. If you have security doors fitted, check for wear and tear (including rust) and replace accordingly.

  • Check that your burglar bars are securely fitted to the windows. Check for wear and tear and replace where necessary.

  • Don't go outside if you suspect someone is on your property. If you are concerned activate the alarm and notify your neighbourhood watch.

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