Time to Clean up the Public and Private Sectors


79% of respondents agree that corruption has become a way of life in the public sector, while 62% of respondents believe the same for the private sector in South Africa.

These shocking statistics were the result of four consecutive polls on the website of The Ethics Institute of South Africa (www.ethicssa.org) run from April to August 2012 in order to get a sense of people’s perceptions and experiences of corruption in South Africa.

According to their polls, an interesting change occurred when the polls, asked much more specifically whether respondents had personally experienced corruption in the public and private sectors respectively.

Actual Experiences of Corruption

According to Kris Dobie in the September 2012 newsletter, “In these polls there was not much to distinguish between people’s actual experiences of corruption across the sectors.  62% of respondents said they had personally experienced corruption in the private sector, and a marginally lower 60% of respondents had experienced corruption in the public sector.

As it happens, the experience based indicator and the perception based indicator is exactly the same for the private sector at is exactly percentage 62%.  In the public sector the perceptions based indicator is significantly exaggerated (79%) if compared to the actual experience of corruption (60%).

More Aware of Corruption

This suggests that the constant media coverage might make people more aware of corruption in the public sector, but when people stop to reflect on their actual experiences there does not seem to be much to distinguish between the two.”

These statistics pose the question that although we all know about kickbacks and corruption in tender processes and in the three spheres of government, how many of us are actually aware of all the backhanding; and ducking and diving; tax evasion, white collar crime and other financial irregularities in the private sector.

In some ways people often seem to feel that it is more forgivable or less serious if these transgressions appear in the private sector. It may also be that although these polls were not in any way representative of the South African public, they indicate that people would like their government to set a better example.

The clear message is that it is time for all honest people to make a stand and say enough is enough! The people do not accept that corruption and graft are the way things are done in South Africa. It is time for both Government and the Private sector to clean up their acts.

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