South Africa scores 12-year low in corruption report

Tuesday January 30 2024
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO | JUSTIN TALLIS | AFP


South Africa's corruption perception index has dropped to its lowest in 12 years and was below the global average, global corruption watchdog Transparency International said on Tuesday.

"Since Corruption Watch (CW)... started tracking its progress on the index 12 years ago, South Africa has never scored as low as 41 - until now", the NGO, which is the local chapter of Transparency International, said. 

With a general election due this year, the nation's image has been stained by a lacklustre economic record and allegations of corruption and cronyism.

Support for its ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) -- which has been in power since the start of democratic rule in 1994 -- has dipped below 50 percent as the campaign heats up. 

"It is one of 23 countries that reached their lowest ever scores this year, stumbling into the category of flawed democracies," the CW statement said.

Read: Revealed: S.Africa hurtling towards ‘failed state’


According to the report, 80 percent of the world's population lives in countries where the score is below the global average of 43.

The Corruption Perception Index scores 180 countries and territories around the globe on "perceived levels of public-sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople". 

"It is frustrating that, in a country... where the corrupt have been exposed for all to see in such public processes as the Zondo Commission and robust media investigations, so few of the implicated parties have been brought to justice," Karam Singh, executive director of CW said.

In June 2022, the final of a series of damning reports from a four-year investigation into corruption under former leader Jacob Zuma's nine-year presidency was handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Read: SA ex-president resorts to old tactics to delay graft prosecution

Yet to date, no significant progress has been made in prosecuting those involved. 

"In South Africa, the narrative is rather an appalling tale of rising inequality and injustice over 30 years" since apartheid, Singh said.

The country sits alongside Burkina Faso, Vietnam and Kosovo on the global index. 

"The 2023 report raises the alarm of the apparent inability of governments around the world to stop the spread of corruption", CW said.