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Corruption Watch applauds role of public in combating corruption in 2015

In its annual report for 2015, released today, Corruption Watch (CW) highlights the power of public participation in the fight against corruption, as reflected in the more than 10 000 people who have reported corruption since the organisation’s inception in 2012. The public activism that has been witnessed during 2015, emanating from students, communities and other groups, has similarly been reflected in the response of ordinary people to CW’s call to action by reporting experiences of corruption on our many reporting channels. The nature of the reports received suggest a more informed public better able to understand their own role in taking a stand against corruption.

A total of 10 573 people had reported instances of corruption as of December 2015. Of these, 2 382 complaints were registered during 2015, while 71% of overall reports received in 2015 fell within our definition of corruption compared to 56% in the previous year. This improvement can be attributed to the mechanisms that we have set in place to enhance public understanding of corruption. These include regular dissemination of public education materials, widespread media reporting on corruption hotspots, CW litigation interventions, increased interaction on social media and digital platforms, as well as broader awareness of the multiple reporting channels available to the public. Our coverage on the wide array of media platforms with which we engage continues to improve significantly each year.

The corruption hotspots in 2015 are schools, which make up 16% of overall reports during the year, followed by traffic and licensing at 12%, immigration at 6% and housing and healthcare at 5% and 3% respectively. As in previous years, abuse of power constituted the bulk of corruption reports at 38%, followed by bribery at 20% and procurement corruption at 14% of the total. Gauteng once again has topped the provincial rankings, making up 50% of reports, followed again by KwaZulu-Natal at 12%, while the remaining provinces hover between 5% and 7%, with the exception of Northern Cape at 2%.

The fact that Gauteng once again features prominently as the province with the highest number of reports, is partly indicative of a highly engaged and active population that has been particularly vocal in calling out corruption and of a provincial government that has generally responded constructively to the reports that we have received.

David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, commented: “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. This year we will go on a major drive to increase the volume of reports from the victims and opponents of corruption.”

2015 has also been marked by CW’s participation in several ground-breaking pieces of litigation such as the applications to determine the powers of the Public Protector. We have also engaged with a number of legislative and policy-making processes. Fortunately, Corruption Watch is not alone in its efforts to combat corruption. We have particularly benefited from the outstanding work of the Public Protector which, as an institution, not only attends to many thousands of reports of petty corruption, but has, through high profile investigations such as those involving Nkandla, PRASA and the SABC, demonstrated that no person is above the law.

The effectiveness of the Public Protector’s work owes much to the quality of the leadership of that institution. This has inspired the recently launched Corruption Watch campaign, Bua Mzansi. Through this nationwide public awareness campaign, CW aims to encourage the public to take an active part in nominating suitable candidates to replace the public protector when her term of office ends in October 2016. This will involve highlighting and monitoring the appointment process to ensure that it is conducted in a transparent manner and that the outcome reflects public participation and opinion.

Download the report here:

Download the infographic here:

For any press enquiries please contact

David Lewis, executive director: +27 082 576 3748
Sandisiwe Gugushe, media officer: +27 071 781 6200
Lucky Ronald Menoe, stakeholder manager: +27 072 577 8419