Fin24

Corruption: SA at tipping point

2010-10-26 22:17

Cape Town - Corruption could become embedded in the public sector if it was not properly challenged, former parliamentarian Gavin Woods said on Tuesday.

Woods, who chaired the standing committee on public accounts, was speaking at the launch of the University of Stellenbosch's Anti-corruption Centre for Education and Research, which he is to head.

He said that where "systemic tendencies" of corruption existed, they were hugely difficult to deal with.

"In fact in a number of other developing countries the experience has been that the battle against corruption is much more difficult to win than to lose," he said.

"In South Africa we still have a chance to prevail - if we all play our part." He said there was an international consensus that out of every ten people, one would never be corrupt, one would easily be corrupt, and the rest would be swayed by pressure or temptation.

It was recognised that most perpetrators of corruption were not sophisticated criminals, but rather individuals who responded to temptation.

"If corruption is not properly challenged and it becomes increasingly systemic in nature, the psychology or mind-set which exists within the public sector work force could manifest into a wider culture of corruption which becomes embedded," Woods said.

This would particularly be true if individuals regularly got away with their transgressions.

The general public, in turn, would become aware of the moral shortcomings of their public service organisations and would become cynical about the morality of public officials and politicians.

"Such cynicism is already in evidence in South Africa," he said.

Comments
  • tuds - 2010-10-26 23:16

    ...to quote a well worn & time honored phrase ...a fish rots from the head down ...regretably this is the case with this bunch of ANC thugs ...supposedly running this country....

  • jkc - 2010-10-26 23:38

    Has Gavin Woods been living under a rock! The public sector is already rotten to the core with corruption, and has been for years.

  • Fourth Chop - 2010-10-27 00:19

    "If corruption is not properly challenged and it becomes increasingly systemic in nature,..." LOL! It's genetic mate - totally genetic. Nuff said.

  • Rey - 2010-10-27 03:39

    Tell us something we dont know ! Battling corruption will be like the fight against HIV/AIDS .

  • croix - 2010-10-27 04:20

    Errm.... I am afraid that you are sorely mistaken as to what 'embedded' means. It's more like way past ENDEMIC already ... even Sexwale described it as such. The synicism you refer to is based on fact: The law enforcement and justice system is geared NOT to solve crime - so how could the status quo change?(except to maybe get even worse?). We are also way past the stage of "becoming aware of moral shortcomings in our officialdom"! I'm afraid you have been duped into thinking this situation can be reversed - get REAL, Sir! WHO is going to DO IT?

  • Charles Scheepers - 2010-10-27 04:28

    So how do we challenge corruption properly? Where do we go to report corruption? I am privy to information about corruption in the judiciary (google: Avoiding the herd) and I can not pay someone to look at the information. I believe that the cynicism is supported by an refusal to see.

  • Shaun - 2010-10-27 04:45

    Too late I am afraid. Only a revolution like the one in France many years ago will solve this problem. Off with their heads!!!

  • Alibaba - 2010-10-27 05:09

    This would particularly be true if individuals regularly got away with their transgressions. The general public, in turn, would become aware of the moral shortcomings of their public service organisations and would become cynical about the morality of public officials and politicians. "Such cynicism is already in evidence in South Africa," he said. And then he still maintains that the current mess can be turned around? It seems SA have gone full circle already. Only way to solve the problem is to get rid of the majority of Public Servants as most of them are already corrupted, and we know what the chances are of that happening.

  • S M Witherspoon - 2010-10-27 05:12

    "Corruption" as understaood, from a Western perspective, is endemic to African cultures, and not viewd as morally reprehensible, but merely as using your opportunities, to the best of your abilities. Due to the remnants of a Justice System in South Africa, and the [For now] Free Press, such corruption is still regularly exposed. Unfortunately, the will,norms and standards, of the majority will ultimately prevail, and SA will catch up to all the other "Democracies" to our north. The only time cases of corruption are dealt with in the rest of Africa, is when there is in-fighting amongst the parties engaged in dividing the spoils. Africa Adieu !

  • Big Cheese - 2010-10-27 05:51

    Judging by the billions and billions of taxpayers' money being squandered , it seems to me that the government and the ANC have ended up with all the " easily corrupt " portions of the equation .

  • Realist - 2010-10-27 06:03

    Seriously!!!!! WOW.... corruption became embedded in the public lives at the absolute mimimum of 10 years ago once all realised they could steal & get away with it!!!!!!!!!! As at today's date Corruption is a WAY OF LIFE in the Public Sector.... I suggest you wake up & check the perculating coffee!!!!!! The info content in this article relates to Time Period 1995 to 1999

  • Monica - 2010-10-27 06:27

    The problem is that most of our criminals are in government (ANCriminals) so the chance of reversing this is virtually impossible - there is absolutely no accountability in the ruling bunch.

  • Shorts - 2010-10-27 06:31

    ' The general public, in turn, would become ( too late - that point has already been reached here in South Africa !!!! ) aware of the moral shortcomings of their public service organisations ( poor service delivery, wasteful expenditure and CDI [ cadre deployment incompetence ] are key issues being experienced by almost everyone just trying hard to lead a normal life in this country today ) and would ( have ) become ( extremely )cynical about the morality of ( many ) public officials and politicians.'

  • Ashamed - 2010-10-27 06:33

    The South African nation is riddled with corruption. Sies!

  • Tax payer - 2010-10-27 06:39

    corruption,waste of money R34 million in farming impliments, strikes, new taxes e.g. more tolroads, then bank charges escalating living prices all paid by the minority of citizens

  • Freddy L - 2010-10-27 06:43

    Fellow south african, how can we plant mangos and expect to harvest bananas? Is really surprising that our beautiful country is fast climbing the ladder on the list of most corrupt states in the world? When corruption is defined along the lines of cronism and comradeship, when a corrupt act is embraced when it is committed by fellow party memebers, we may as well forget it! This is painful truth:WITH THE CURRENT STATUS OF LITERACY OF THE LARGER ELECTROTE, SOUTH africa is destined for irreversable chaotic state. we are in denial, and when you raise these, you are labelled unpatriotic. Dark days are beckoning.Corporate moral decay...relentless erosion of 1994 gains....looting of our national fiscal pursee....creation of elitism...i can go on and on...

  • ian - 2010-10-27 06:54

    I think they have passed the tipping point. Our government can only be described as absolute corruptness. We had really hoped for so much more from the ANC, given the moral lead that Mandela gave them.

  • Caesar - 2010-10-27 06:54

    When we look at the total amount of money, counted in billions then we can come to the conclusion that we have reached a point of no return already. Examination of attitudes countrywide indicate too that it is embedded in the sense that the victors of the struggle claim their booty is a form of reparation. Getting rid of a mindset of that nature will take some doing.

  • mikeh - 2010-10-27 06:56

    Our government does a lot of talking about corruption but actually does very little about it. When people are caught out, they should be fired and prosecuted. Instead they usually get suspended on full pay. At the moment there is very little disincentive, because crime does pay.

  • Steadfast - 2010-10-27 07:08

    While the present ruling party enjoys such huge majority one will never stamp out corruption. They just close ranks and actions is not taken when officials are exposed.

  • Garth - 2010-10-27 07:08

    Whoa! Stop the runaway gravy train! Woods says: 'Corruption could become embedded in the public sector if it was not properly challenged.' Where have you been for the past 60 years Woods? Corruption under the Nats was part and parcel of our support of Apartheid. Now we have the equally USELESS, equally RACIST ANC, who are more corrupt than Nigeria. Wake up South Africa, get rid of these THEIVING, USELESS, RACIST ANC.

  • Andre - 2010-10-27 07:11

    Who are you trying to kid? SA is already way way past the ripping point. Corruption is rife in local municipalties and government. Just open ANY newspaper and read the first page, let alone the rest of the newspaper.

  • damit - 2010-10-27 07:24

    Corruption could become embedded in the public sector. Are you kidding? It is not only embedded but clearly endorsed by government, judging by the amount of corruption and the number of perpetrators actually even seeing the inside of a law court, never mind being punnished, Oh yes I forget many of them are punnished quite severely actualy, they are asked to resign and get paid more money than most people could even count to. What a shame and embarrasment this must be to people like Nelson Mandela who freed this country for his people, only to have it stolen from them all over again.

  • Oom Piet - 2010-10-27 07:26

    ANC=CORRUPTION NO ANC= NO CORRUPTION

  • Kosmonooit - 2010-10-27 07:29

    Indeed - and as the gap between the 'newly' (and generally corruptly) enriched and the people widens, so society at large will regress. You only have to look at the Philippines to see how this all pans out down the line. So, ANC, please stop deploying comrades and buddies and put people in place in the public service who, on merit and skill, can do the job.

  • Steve - 2010-10-27 07:37

    Get rid of the current public servants by making them re-apply for their own jobs. Let the screening be done by an independant, reputable agency. This way the vast majority of them will lose their jobs. They are useless

  • Ruffdog - 2010-10-27 07:48

    A good dose of cynicism would be more apt, I feel like a prozac addict in this country such highs and lows one moment you read an incredibly inspirational story and next you read about the "municiplaities" which results in at least 3 days of depression as you realise that something serious needs to be down to ensure budgets are correctly implemented and not just whisked away in deep dark corners of cronyism. Why not having a system of performance where only after a year or two subject to results and a survey in which the voters mark the performance of the municiplaity doers that result in increases of salary and bonus and perks? Afterall they are public servants no, or do they possible not conceive the meaning of this and actually think that we are their servants?

  • Alan - 2010-10-27 08:00

    How do you expect a government that is headed up by the corrupt to want to combat corruption? We were firmly embedded on a slippery slope to oblivion when corruption charges against Zuma were squashed. It really is now a free for all amongst our ANC politicians

  • Linda Yates - 2010-10-27 08:08

    Government is difficult, but not rocket science. We need leaders we can TRUST.

  • Brian - 2010-10-27 08:11

    Corruption is as bad if not worse than tax fraud. Why not impose tripple penalties and interest including hefty jail time for those caught up in corruption. We need to be seen doing something especially to high ranking ANC cadres where there is a public perception that nothing ever happens with them.

  • PETER - 2010-10-27 08:19

    In South Africa,out of ten,one will never be corrupted,one can be swayed and the other eight are corrupt.(Maybe I should have said Africa)

  • josy - 2010-10-27 08:20

    it might be too late to rid corruption that we must just live with it,imagine a lawless country or a selective lawless country.who is in or out.please goverment stop corruption please stop stop stop.

  • Paradise lost - 2010-10-27 08:20

    "Could become embedded" To late, to late she cried...

  • Stephen Smith - 2010-10-27 08:26

    The government is rotten to the core with corruption. I have a story with proof. Dear Sir, A friend of mine gave me your web site information and told me to contact you.. I have sent you the information about the corruption of the police and the losses I have encured due to their corruption since May 2000. All the way to the presidents office know about it and nothing has been done. In Pretoria Supreme Court the police were instructed to return the gold they took from me and to date, nothing has been returned. The lowest cost price of this gold is over 11 Million Rand. (according to Rand Refinery’s price list). The Platinum has also not been returned nor my equipment. The police went to court behind our backs and illegally placed their costs onto us, without our knowledge, which was 10 Thousand Rand and the Boksburg Sheriff came to us with a document of 20 Thousand Rand and took 250 Thousand Rand worth of goods from my wife’s house and my son’s goldsmithing workshop and music recording studio and when my son tried to stop them from taking these things on an illegal document, they arrested him and threw him in prison until the next day when he had to defend himself in court. They had nothing to do with this case but still goods were taken from their places even though the document was illegal. The police trumped up 19 cases against us in the Springs court and the police lost ALL 19 cases against us. We spoke personally to Jake Selebe concerning this case but nothing was done. We sent letters to the minister of Safety and Security and the letters we got back said ”We will be investigating the case” and to date…nothing. We spoke to Paley and then Robert in the presidents office and all that has been happening is we have been pushed around from “Pillar to Post”. Letters were also sent and References Numbers returned to us…but still nothing. We tried to get an appointment with the President of South Africa who said he will not tolerate corruption and should anyone need help, please come directly to him. (this was said at one of the rugby games in front of the TV for the nation to hear and see.) Nothing has happened! The contracts we have lost, due to police corruption, that could have helped South Africa is in excess of 3Billion 1 Hundred Million Rand. We even have a document sent to us from the presidents office hotline telling us that they owe us this money and they were supposed to pay us in September 2009 and to date NOTHING!!!!! Please will you help us by publishing this information world wide. We have all the document proof of what we have told you. We have been to court numerous times, the president’s office, the minister of safety and security, the hawks, Government legal department, with no luck! Thank you Raymond Smith and Stephen Smith 011 917 9667 (Son’s work) 072 925 7331 (My Cell) 082 671 3875 (Son’s Cell)

  • e - 2010-10-27 08:29

    Hopeless case with the ANC Government being corrupt as it is!

  • Foreign investor - 2010-10-27 08:32

    Corruption is so pervasive and entrenched, not only the public service, but also the private sector in South Africa. The ANC has created a culture of corruption, entitlement and mismanagement. Corruption is encouraged as the governing party values blind allegiance and loyalty above competence, efficiency, integrity and professionalism. There is no hope for South Africa, unless this attitude changes. the ANC Government's intervention policies to force companies to comply to BEE is also driving away foreign investors. In the meantime, I will continue to invest my money in more stable, less corrupt economies of the world. The choices are endless.

  • peter - 2010-10-27 08:33

    The corruption is now embedded with the scrapping of the investigation into the arms deal. Open licence to go the same way. If I do corruption and get away with it due to my political affiliation then it is very difficult for me to then push anti-corruption. So, how do we start at the top??? as it MUST be a top down operation!!!

  • Foreign investor - 2010-10-27 08:48

    Corruption is so pervasive and entrenched, not only the public service, but also the private sector in South Africa. The ANC has created a culture of corruption, entitlement and mismanagement. Corruption is encouraged as the governing party values blind allegiance and loyalty above competence, efficiency, integrity and professionalism. There is no hope for South Africa, unless this attitude changes. the ANC Government's intervention policies to force companies to comply to BEE is also driving away foreign investors. In the meantime, I will continue to invest my money in more stable, less corrupt economies of the world. The choices are endless.

  • Rick Cooper - 2010-10-27 08:49

    I think we have already crossed the tipping point - SA's public servants are almost 100% corrupt. I have never met an honest policeman in seclusion. I have never been assisted by a public servant without them trying to solicit a bribe.

  • Mike or Mpho - 2010-10-27 09:14

    A little too late, don't you think? corruption is fully embedded in the public sector, it is no longer something that is being hidden away from public eyes. It is in our faces on a daily basis

  • willie - 2010-10-27 09:37

    Corruption and political correctness go hand in hand. Both are denials of the truth. An idiot is only mentally challenged and a thief was only a misguided youth. So nobody tells the truth any longer and money that was stolen by the ministers and government and provincial and municipal officials was only "misspent". Instead of prosecuting them and sending them to jail and reclaiming the stolen money from them they are "redeployed" with a further present of a few million Rand. If you wish to fight corruption, start by speaking the truth and stop blaming "the legacy of apartheid". The total and complete lack of a sense of duty and responsibility might also be addressed. But, as a famous ANC cadre confessed in an unguarded moment, "I did not join the struggle to stay poor!" For once an ANC member speaking the truth, truly, a rare occasion.

  • Billion - 2010-10-27 09:54

    This is too true to be funny.The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the 'politicians' spending YOUR tax money.A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its press releases. A billion seconds ago it was 1959. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet. A billion Rand ago was only 27 hours and 12 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it. We currently pay.... Building Permit Tax Cigarette Tax Corporation Tax Income Tax VAT GST Fishing Licence Tax Food Licence Tax Fuel LicenceTax Petrol/Diesel Tax Hunting Licence Tax Luxury Tax Property Tax Service charge taxes Capital gains Tax Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax Local Tax Vehicle Licence Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Workers Compensation Tax STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 30 years ago... And our nation was one of the most prosperous in Africa. We had absolutely no national debt... We had the largest middle class in Africa And Mum stayed home to raise the kids. What happened?

  • Governments are evil - 2010-10-27 10:01

    We are not the only country struggling with this problem, ours is only worse because we have a culture in this country tht cannot stand to see anyone have something they do not have.If you read the history books, and I am not talking about those written by SA historians, we have always had this problems. The police ared our worst criminals as what did they do with all the soldiers from the so called revolution, they were all given jobs in the police. I am afraid the whole SAP should be fired and then asked to apply for their jobs, only after training and thinning themselves down, so that we the community can be proud to ask them for help. They are not the best community service in this country.

  • Philip - 2010-10-27 10:09

    Words on here are gonna make not one bit of difference.If this country did not have the mineral wealth,it would be totally stuffed by now.

  • Faya - 2010-10-27 10:15

    Way too late, we have come to the end of the road already, should have been written about 10 years ago. Sadly this beautiful country has been milked for all its worth and the guys sitting at the top are smiling all the way to the "bar"

  • Neil G - 2010-10-27 10:17

    "The general public, in turn, would become aware of the moral shortcomings of their public service organisations" The general public in this country don't attend universities like Stellenbosch and they also don't read online newscasts like this or the many comments. The general public are mostly poor and illeterate and dependant on public sector handouts and really don't care if the hand that feeds them is corrupt or not. The ruling party depends on the votes of these to remain in power and they do so by the promises of more handouts - which they have no means of fulfilling, so you have a corrupt relationship to begin with and corruption feeding their power base all the way to the top. The only way to succeed in fighting corruption is with majority support. What I belive is required to get majority, is to convince the general public that if there was no corruption, then there will be more to share.

  • Neil G - 2010-10-27 10:22

    "The general public, in turn, would become aware of the moral shortcomings of their public service organisations" The general public in this country don't attend universities like Stellenbosch and they also don't read online newscasts like this or the many comments. The general public are mostly poor and illeterate and dependant on public sector handouts and really don't care if the hand that feeds them is corrupt or not. The ruling party depends on the votes of these to remain in power and they do so by the promises of more handouts - which they have no means of fulfilling, so you have a corrupt relationship to begin with and corruption feeding their power base all the way to the top. The only way to succeed in fighting corruption is with majority support. What I belive is required to get majority, is to convince the general public that if there was no corruption, then there will be more to share.

  • Neil G - 2010-10-27 10:22

    "The general public, in turn, would become aware of the moral shortcomings of their public service organisations" The general public in this country don't attend universities like Stellenbosch and they also don't read online newscasts like this or the many comments. The general public are mostly poor and illeterate and dependant on public sector handouts and really don't care if the hand that feeds them is corrupt or not. The ruling party depends on the votes of these to remain in power and they do so by the promises of more handouts - which they have no means of fulfilling, so you have a corrupt relationship to begin with and corruption feeding their power base all the way to the top. The only way to succeed in fighting corruption is with majority support. What I belive is required to get majority, is to convince the general public that if there was no corruption, then there will be more to share.

  • Erney - 2010-10-27 10:33

    We all know that S.A. is rife with corruption. Gavin Woods just put it in acadamic language. What we do need from Woods and other academics, intellectuals and bureaucrats is practical suggestions how to tackle and try to contain endemic corruption ? My suggetion is that once a person is found guilty of corruption (in a special anti-corruption court) they have to pay back the money or value of the goods that they have stolen even if their private assests (property, cars, investments and even some money in bank accounts) will be confiscated and sold to recuperate some of the monetary value. The income from these assests should go to finance the special corruption courts, pay the salaries of the judges and for the administration of running the anti-corruption system ? I believe that such a visible action will not only act as a deterrent for corruption but will also not let corrupt officials be fired from one job to take up another where the cycle will continue ?

  • Baas'Boerseun - 2010-10-27 10:44

    Corruption is allready endemic in the ANC and thus government. What part of the arms deal do this oke not understand, or the Eskom power station prices, car deals and lo and behold 96000 state employees ripping of social grants and who knows what else???

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