A survey by the civil society group Corruption Watch finds that not only are young people victims of corruption in South Africa, but they are becoming perpetrators too.
The survey was conducted in the second half of 2020 among 1,561 respondents aged between 18 and 35-years-old.
The findings showed that only 51% of youth identified the giving of a monetary reward in exchange for a tender to be corruption – “and given the appalling levels of corruption exposed over the year in Covid-related procurement, for a kickback to be seen as normal is nothing short of disastrous”.
“They are routinely asked to engage in corrupt activities to secure a job, or pass their driver’s licence test, or merely gain access to basic goods and services which are their constitutional right,” the researchers said.
- Just over half (51%) of respondents did not consider threatening a teacher with extortion in exchange for high marks on a school paper as corruption;
- Compared to males, those who identify as female or gender non-conforming are more than 50% more likely to be asked to perform sexual favours in exchange for access to a job, financial resources, or better marks;
- Almost all respondents (93%) consider abuse of power, followed by greed (85%), to be the main causes of corruption. Other factors included low salaries, peer pressure, and fear.
Respondents said they most often been asked for sexual favours in return for:
- A job (15%);
- Access to financial resources (5%);
- Better marks or grades school or university (3%);
- To avoid getting arrested (2%); and
- A tender (2%).
- The police (76%);
- Local government (75%);
- Traffic and licensing departments (75%);
- Parliament (68%), and
- The business sector (49%).
Top 5 causes of corruption
- Access to a public service like healthcare, water or electricity (7%);
- A job (7%);
- To avoid a traffic fine or getting arrested (6%);
- Access to financial resources (6%); and
- Access to land and/or housing (4%).
With high youth unemployment in South Africa, 86% of respondents felt that corruption limits the opportunities of young people. Meanwhile, nearly three quarters (65%) said only the poor and vulnerable face the consequences of corruption and that its impact differs across racial and class lines.
Corruption Watch believes this survey shows the high levels of distrust in various state institutions, elected leaders and corporations, which does “not bode well for a democracy at its infancy”.
“That said the onus lies upon the youth in South Africa to map a future that is principally opposed to the injustices that have become the norm in their communities,” Corruption Watch said.