New report shows where most corruption takes place in South Africa

 ·11 Apr 2019

Non-profit organisation Corruption Watch has released its annual report – looking at the different levels of corruption in South Africa and how it impacts everyday people.

At a broader level, the report underlines how corruption erodes the pillars of our democracy, taking hold of key institutions of accountability that should exercise oversight of our leaders, and gives rise to the kinds of abuse of power and impunity that we have witnessed as a result.

Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis, noted how key institutions – for example, Parliament and the National Prosecuting Authority – were compromised to sustain the corruption on the scale evident in the era of state capture.

“On the other hand, we saw how other institutions of our democracy led the fight back against state capture. Robust and independent civil society, media and judiciary are key indicators of a functioning democracy and in our country, these are widely acknowledged for their leading role in confronting state capture,” he said.

The trending corruption issues reported by the public over the year were abuse of power, bribery and procurement corruption, while the majority of the 4,200 corruption reports received in 2018 related to provincial government departments, followed by national departments and local government in third place.

After 2017 and 2016, this is the third highest number of reports received since Corruption Watch’s launch in 2012.

These three years account for 57% of the overall number of reports received between 2012 and 2018, and coincide with the rollout of several advocacy campaigns and high-level litigation cases.

As in previous years, Gauteng recorded the most reports of corruption with 45% of all cases received during 2018, followed by KwaZulu-Natal.

“This, we believe, is largely explained by the relatively large population of Gauteng, the scale of economic activity and the fact that national government administration is headquartered in the province,” Corruption Watch said.

“For the first time, Limpopo made the top three with 8% of reports, most likely a result of Corruption Watch’s public awareness drive in the province in late 2017.”


The largest number of reports received (22%) focused on corruption in the education sector, while complaints about the South African Police Service increased from 6% in 2017 to 9% in 2018 – reaching their highest level over the seven-year period.

Third on the list are reports of corruption and illegal activities at licensing centres throughout the country.

The following types of corruption were the most reported:

  • Abuse of power – 23%
  • Bribery – 18%
  • Employment corruption – 12%
  • Procurement corruption – 21%
  • Other – 26%

Read: South Africa’s education system has another problem: teachers not turning up

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