Media release

Government pours cold water on sensational media reports on corruption

03 December 2014

3 December 2014

The Government has noted the release of Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2014 and the subsequent comments by Corruption Watch.

However, media coverage in particular the headline and story in The Times newspaper on the 3rd December 2014, misrepresents the report by suggesting that South Africa is at a point of no return with a sensational headline “SA in dodgy territory.”

“It is important for the media to not only report the facts but to enrich the country's debate on important national issues in a responsible manner,” said Acting Director-General of the Department of Communication, Donald Liphoko.

“We acknowledge that there is a level of corruption across society, and that together we must confront it wherever it rears it's head.  However, it is pessimistic to state that South Africa is at a point of no return. The country’s legal and institutional frameworks as well as public policy pronouncements stand vehemently against corruption. To put this into perspective; the latest annual Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that South Africa has made recognizable improvement in its fight against corruption.

“Such misleading media reports are unhelpful in building the country but are feeding into a pessimistic outlook that can only damage our national psyche and prospects for economic growth. The government has tested mechanisms and bodies dealing with allegations of corruption, and we should recognize the ongoing work done by such bodies to root out corruption,” Liphoko said.

Since the advent of democracy, the Promotion of Access to Information Act and the Promotion of Access to Justice Act were passed to create an accountable, responsive government. This is further strengthened by the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (2004), and the introduction of the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act. South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

“These laws form a solid legislative basis to fight corruption. As a signatory to the Convention, we are obliged to implement a wide range of anti-corruption measures aimed to promote the prevention, detection and sanctioning of corruption,” said Liphoko.

In his 2014 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma’s announced the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Prevention and Combating of Corruption whose purpose is to oversee the work of state organs aimed at fighting the scourge of corruption in the public and private sectors.

Liphoko added: “These are some of the initiatives of government to address corruption challenges. Poor governance can critically undermine national development and thus accountability is achieved through a system of institutional checks and balances including Parliament, oversight institutions and the judiciary. An effective and efficient public service is easily undermined by poor ethics and corruption, and government will not allow such acts to thrive.

Most government departments including local government have mechanisms in place to deal with corruption, hence in some provinces such as Gauteng the tender system has been opened to public scrutiny.”

The National Development Plan clearly highlights that the Vision for 2030 is a South Africa that has zero tolerance for corruption. In 2030, South Africa will be a society in which citizens do not offer bribes and have the confidence and knowledge to hold public and private officials to account, and in which leaders have integrity and high ethical standards.  Our efforts should be focused on making this vision a reality.

Donald Liphoko
Cell: 082 901 0766

Issued by Department of Communications

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