Corruption Eruption

Depressing reading in today’s Business Report, which says the latest Corruption Watch perceptions index shows that ZA has slipped down the ranking to 72nd out of 177 – from 69th last year. On the face of it, this is bad, but we asked a few of our experts for their views….

Mike Schussler from economists.co.za:
At this moment in time almost all the indicators for South Africa are slipping. Corruption, transparency, doing business and global competiveness indices have all slipped in the last few years. I am concerned that all these indices are not getting the country to act as we still fight about silly things such as socialism and capitalism when the world has clearly moved on to capitalism. The corruption index slippage however is not unexpected as many powerful people have their hands in the till. Think presidents and ministers and mayors and even businessmen. Our criminals are getting away with murder and our police chiefs are at best incompetent or part of the underworld. It is actually surprising that we did not slip more places, say to outside the top 100. Sad, really sad, that crime and corruption can become ever-more the norm.

Ian Cruickshanks from the SAIRR:
I think that the Corruption Watch Index shows that the SA level is stabilizing, but at a very unsatisfactory level. This confirms the public view of a low level of accountability, particularly amongst politicians – with abuse of position. And we have business leaders apparently fearful of speaking out because of possible negative impacts on their business. Recent press reports on the possible abuse of public funds at Nkandla, and the Gupta family riding roughshod over domestic regulations, have led to a growing negative view by South Africans and foreign investors. I think this could be having a severe impact on foreign investment.

Azar Jammine from econometrix:
Even in 72nd place South Africa is still in the best half of corruption perceptions in the world. So it is not a total disaster by any stretch of imagination. What is of concern is the trend which has deteriorated significantly over the last few years. What is particularly concerning is that Africa as a whole is considered the most corrupt region of the world. South Africa is one of the least corrupt nations in Africa – but other African nations have become less corrupt while SA has been becoming more corrupt. Most places where you or I do business operate in a non-corrupt way, but clearly the perception is the more you have to do with public sector bodies, the more corruption is becoming endemic. This happened to coincide with the ascendency of Jacob Zuma to the leadership of the ANC. It has also been a period during which SA’s economic performance, related to other emerging nations, has deteriorated.

Neren Rau from SACCI:
It is not as much a surprise as a disappointment. Our members were becoming optimistic that, while we may be losing individual battles, SA was making some progress in the war against crime and corruption. The decline in the ranking unfortunately shows that any positive perceptions were more attributable to business being overwhelmed by other challenges as opposed to any gain in respect of the war against crime and corruption. A partnership between business and government is key to dealing with this challenge with, as a prerequisite, each partner willing to accept its own shortcomings in this regard on entering into the partnership. SACCI has had some success in partnering with the police services on specific challenges faced by our members.

Conclusion: Whether or not the scourge of corruption is growing, the perception is that it is getting worse in South Africa. And, sadly, we are not getting much of an example from our political leaders.

Tweets of the Day:
Gert V8 ™ (@gertmods): Bought a book on the history of flour the other day. Just sifting through it now.
Funny Tweets (@iQuoteComedy): What if soy milk is just regular milk introducing itself in Spanish?

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