The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) Africa on Thursday revealed that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is considered the most corrupt institution in the country.
The GCB is the largest, most detailed survey of citizens’ views on corruption and bribery in Africa. The survey was conducted between the end of July and September last year.
Of the 47,000 citizens surveyed in 35 African countries, more than half believed corruption was getting worse in their country.
The survey also revealed that 64% of those surveyed think corruption levels increased during the past 12 months. However, overall the SAPS was considered the most corrupt institution in South Africa.
“It is absolutely essential that corruption in the police is tackled. I have to say that it is not an uncommon result across countries and not only in Africa. In some sense, police have extraordinary power and therefore it is there to be abused,” said Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis.
The report also highlighted that corruption disproportionately affected the most vulnerable, with the poorest paying bribes twice as often as the richest. Young people pay more bribes than those over 55-years-old.
“Corruption is hindering Africa’s economic, political and social development. It is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, like freedom of speech or citizens’ right to hold governments to account,” said the Managing Director of Transparency International Patricia Moreira.
“While governments have a long way to go in regaining citizens’ trust and reducing corruption, these things don’t exist in a vacuum. Foreign bribery and money laundering divert critical resources away from public services, and ordinary citizens suffer most,” Moreira added.
The report also revealed that South Africans think local government officials were highly corrupt, followed by government officials and members of Parliament.