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SA’s corruption index rating worrying

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Transparency International’s rating of South Africa in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) indicated a significant problem, Corruption Watch (CW) said on Wednesday. The non-profit organisation said in a statement that South Africa scored 44 out of 100, where 0 indicates a perception that a country is highly corrupt.

Of the 175 countries scored, South Africa ranked 67th. Last year South Africa scored 42 and was ranked 72nd out of 177. Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said it would be a serious mistake to draw any comfort from the fact that South Africa had not slipped further in the index.

“Not far below us on the index are countries where corruption is endemic, where little can be done to turn around corruption.”

He said some key South African institutions showed characteristics of endemic corruption.

“Think of our criminal justice institutions. And think of the impunity enjoyed by leading public sector and private sector individuals, with the continuing Nkandla fiasco the clearest example of impunity enjoyed by the politically powerful.”

He was referring to controversy surrounding R246 million in so-called security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. Zuma claimed he did not ask for the refurbishments at his Nkandla home, which included a helipad, a swimming pool, an amphitheatre, and a chicken coop.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended in her report on the matter that Zuma repay a portion of the public funds spent on the upgrade.

“Indeed, given the growing controversy surrounding Nkandla and given the contempt displayed by the political and public sector leadership for a resolute anti-corruption fighter like the Public Protector, had the survey been conducted today, we may well have landed up with a significantly lower score.” SAPA

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