Why South Africans are okay with paying bribes

A new report from StatsSA reveals that more than 70% of SA households believe that corruption has increased during the period 2010–2013.

The report, the 2013/14 Victims of Crime survey, looks at the dynamics of crime and people’s perception of crime in South Africa.

It found that only 14.5% of households believed that the levels of corruption had remained unchanged during this period, whilst 13.6% said that corruption had decreased.

StatsSA said that over three-quarters of households believe that people were involved in corruption to get rich quickly (76.9%).

Bribes were commonly paid in order to speed up procedures (37.9%), followed by receiving better treatment (23.0%) and to avoid traffic fines.

Households believed that it was pointless for them to report corruption because nobody will care (43.%), also because of the benefit received from the bribe (13.4%) and they also thought that it was common practice (11.6%) and therefore does not need to be reported.

While four in ten of households in South Africa believed that the level of both violent and non-violent crime had increased in their areas of residence during the period 2010 to 2013, slightly more than 30% said that crime had decreased.

More than six in ten (61.6%) households perceived housebreaking/burglary to be one of
the most common types of crime, followed by home robbery (43.4%) These two crimes were also the most feared amongst households, with murder the fourth most feared, behind street robbery.

About 75% of households thought that criminals were more likely to be motivated by drug-related needs, as opposed to being motivated by real need (45.4%), greed (42.7%) or non-financial motives (29.1%).

Half of the households in South Africa took physical measures to protect their homes, while more than a quarter took measures to protect their vehicles. Only 5.2% of households carried a weapon to protect themselves and their property, the report said.

When asked about what they thought the government should to combat crime, 64.1% of households were of the view that social and/or economic development was the more effective way of reducing crime.

About 20% of households indicated that resources should rather be focused on law enforcement, while an estimated 15.6% felt that resources should be allocated to the judiciary/courts in order to effectively reduce crime.

More than 60% of households were satisfied with the way in which police and courts were doing their work.

Police satisfaction
Police satisfaction
Police satisfaction table
Police satisfaction table (click to enlarge)

This view may have been influenced by factors such as the time it took for police to respond to a crime, visible policing, conviction rates, and sentencing of perpetrators, the report said.

Police dissatisfaction table
Police dissatisfaction table

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Why South Africans are okay with paying bribes