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Public stands up to corruption

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Public stands up to corruption

In just four years since its launch, Corruption Watch has received more than 10 000 reports from the public about corrupt activities in South Africa – and it will launch a majot drive in 2016 to increase the volume of reports from the victims and opponents of corruption.
The organisation has released its annual report for 2015, highlighting how public activism has been reflected in several events during 2015, such as the student fees protests, various anti-xenophobia and -corruption marches, and other mobilisations.
“Ordinary people have come to us to report corruption – 10 573 as of the end of December 2015 – with 2 382 reporting in 2015 alone,” the organisation states. “Of these, 71% of reports fell within our definition of corruption compared to 56% in the previous year. We define corruption as the abuse of public resources or public power for personal gain.”
David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, comments: “Our overriding mission is to encourage and enable public participation in combating corruption. A key element of the participation that we encourage is for members of the public to report experiences of corruption to us. These reports not only enable us to identify patterns and hotspots of corruption and to devise anti-corruption strategies, but, most important, they enable us to speak with the backing of evidence provided by the public.”
The annual report shows that the corruption hotspots in 2015 are schools (16% of all reports), then traffic and licensing (12%), and immigration, housing and healthcare at 6%, 5% and 3% respectively.
Most of the reports were generated in Gauteng at 50%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 12%, while the remaining provinces hover between 5% and 7%, with the exception of Northern Cape at 2%.
Corruption Watch points out that these statistics don’t mean Gauteng is necessarily the most corrupt province, but rather that the organisation’s profile is higher there because of the constructive relationships developed with the Johannesburg Metro Police and the Gauteng Department of Education, among others. In addition, Gauteng is home to all national departments located in Tshwane and finally, it has the biggest population of all provinces.
As in previous years, abuse of power made up the bulk of corruption reports at 38%, followed by bribery at 20% and procurement corruption at 14% of the total.
During 2015, Corruption Watch contributed to a number of legislative and policy-making processes, such as our submissions on the public procurement overhaul and the draft FIC amendment bill.
The group also participated in several ground-breaking pieces of litigation such as the applications to determine the powers of the Public Protector.
It launched a new public awareness campaign, Bua Mzansi, focusing on the appointment later in 2016 of a new public protector. Corruption Watch’s aim is to ensure that incumbent Thuli Madonsela’s successor is chosen through an active and transparent public participation process.