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S.Africa tops continent’s corruption survey

Published on 01/12/2015

Corruption is on the rise in Africa, with South Africa topping the list of countries where citizens believe the problem has got worse in the last year, said a Transparency International survey released Tuesday.

According to the report, 83 percent of South Africans interviewed felt that corruption had increased, with Ghana and Nigeria also among the worst-affected nations.

Across all 28 countries surveyed, the police, business executives, government officials and the courts were all perceived as corrupt, with 75 million people estimated to have paid a bribe in the past year.

The survey also said that during the deadly Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone, corruption may have contributed to the slow government response.

“In both of these countries there are very high bribery rates and the public sector is perceived to be affected by extensive levels of corruption,” said the survey.

It said 58 percent of all the people surveyed conducted across sub-Saharan Africa believed that graft levels were on the rise.

On the plus side, Botswana scored well, with 54 percent indicating that their government was doing well in combating graft.

Only 20 percent of South Africans said they felt the same.

South Africa has been rocked by high-profile corruption scandals in recent years, including lavish public spending on renovations at President Jacob Zuma’s private homestead.

“People are outraged, they see this huge spending as part of government corruption,” David Lewis, director of Corruption Watch, a local anti-graft organisation, told AFP.

Madagascar ranked bottom, at nine percent, on the government’s commitment to fight corruption.

“Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion,” Transparency International head Jose Ugaz said in a statement.

He said whistleblowing was key to fighting graft, but people were scared to come forward as they felt it was “too dangerous (or) ineffective”.