Failed state warning for South Africa

 ·6 Feb 2024

The Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) says that South Africa hitting a record low on the latest Corruption Perception Index is just another sign that the country is stepping towards becoming a failed state.

Anti-corruption advocacy group Transparency International recently published its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2023, with South Africa receiving its worst score to date.

South Africa dropped to its lowest ranking since the index was created, with the country ranking 83rd in the overall list. In terms of scoring, the country dropped by two points from 2022, receiving 41/100 – below the global average.

This places the country in the “flawed democracy” grouping and adds another black mark to South Africa’s name in its global standing, next to the 2023 greylisting, which also dented its reputation.

According to IRMSA, corruption is a core issue underlying multiple risks in South Africa, including economic collapse, crumbling infrastructure and poor service delivery.

IRMSA Chief Risk Advisor Christopher Palm said that corruption appears frequently throughout the group’s annual Risk Report as an essential risk that needs to be repaired before South Africa can even hope to address its poly-crisis.

“Our CPI score is another warning sign that we’re edging closer to becoming a failed state,” he said. “It puts us in the global spotlight, further deterring foreign investment after our concerning greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force last year.”

While the report acknowledges that the government has attempted to put structures in place to address corruption, the simple fact of the matter is that implicated officials are not being held to account – despite the findings of the Zondo Commission and other investigations.

“It’s clear that we have not put the measures required to arrest our poly-crisis in place fast enough,” Palm said. “I have heard prominent Chief Risk Officers in the Public and Private sectors refer to a perma-crisis, meaning that the risk profile reported and currently materialising at pace may be here to stay.”

Read: South Africa seen as more corrupt than ever before

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