Corruption survey results – what you didn’t seeTuesday, 23/10/2012 - 13:35
Yesterday the papers and news sites were awash with reports of a new survey which found that most adults living in big cities believe corruption is endemic, but what wasn’t so widely publicised were the other survey findings – like the fact that perceptions of government corruption have improved on the East Rand, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, but worsened in the Vaal Triangle and Eastern Cape.
In a survey of 2 000 residents of South Africa's main metro areas, TNS South Africa revealed that 78% feel that there is corruption in senior levels of government.
The survey covered Gauteng, including Johannesburg and Pretoria; Cape Town; Durban; the Eastern Cape, including Port Elizabeth and East London; and Bloemfontein. It was conducted in early August 2012 and released on 22 October 2012.
Some 10% of respondents disagree that there’s corruption in top government structures, while 12% say they don’t know.
At the end of 2011, 85% of respondents said they believed senior levels of government were corrupt – this figure has remained largely unchanged since 1995. In addition, some 83% felt that corruption has become a way of life in South Africa.
However, the private sector does not get off lightly: 70% feel that corruption is just as bad in the private sector. Here, 18% disagree and 13 % gave a “don't know” response.
Of concern is that, while 50% of metro residents do feel that government is working on reducing corruption, 36% feel it is not (13% said don't know).
In a related survey, also of 2 000 metro adults at the end of 2011, TNS found that 48% of metro residents felt that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was doing a good job, compared with 22% who felt the opposite (but 30% gave a “don't know” response, suggesting that they are unable to evaluate this issue).
However, 42% of people, in late 2011, felt that the government often ignores the rulings of the public protector (24% disagreed and 34% gave a “don't know” response).
Pretoria, Cape Town more upbeat
The results of this year’s survey show that perceptions of corruption have shifted somewhat by area.
Perceptions have improved on the East Rand, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, but worsened in the Vaal Triangle/South Rand and the Eastern Cape; however, they are poor everywhere.
Corruption in the private sector is perceived to be higher by residents of the West Rand, Soweto and Bloemfontein but lower by residents of the East Rand, the Vaal Triangle/South Rand, Durban and East London.
Government's reaction to acting on corruption is seen as poorest in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape but better on the West Rand.
The public protector had the best perceptions amongst residents of the West Rand, but was less well regarded in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape.
Corruption endemic – an entrenched perception
“That corruption is a major problem in South Africa, including both senior levels of government and the private sector, and has become endemic, is now a well-entrenched perception that has been largely unchanged for over six years, though the latest reading does show a small improvement,” said Neil Higgs of TNS South Africa.
Whilst almost a third of people do not feel they can comment on the public protector's work, amongst those that can, positive perceptions outweigh the negative by over two to one.
Of concern, though, is that only half of respondents feel that the government is really attacking the problem - over a third do not. Perhaps linked to this is the perception that the government often ignores rulings of the public protector, an untenable situation.
These studies were all undertaken before the issue of President Jacob Zuma’s homestead of Nkandla arose, and before the current wave of presentations by the auditor-general to parliament.
Source: statement issued by Neil Higgs, TNS South Africa, 22 October 2012.