By Corruption Watch reporters

Our heroes this week are the people of Gauteng who, during our recent public awareness drive, showed us just how angry and fed up they are with corruption. At the Bara taxi rank, the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Zoo Lake and Maponya Mall in Soweto, individuals were eager to speak out about how this scourge is hurting them and also learn how they can become active corruption-fighters. 

For putting their feet down, taking a stand and showing they will not be passive victims any longer, these individuals get our nod as heroes of the week.

Our giant inflatable website bearing the message “Guptas fly, government jumps” first popped up on Jan Smuts road at Zoo Lake last week Wednesday, and was then taken to commuters and passers-by at Soweto’s Bara taxi rank on Thursday. On Friday it hit UJ’s Bunting Campus and then made its way back to Soweto to greet Saturday morning shoppers at Maponya Mall.

For the full experience, watch our video here.

“The first of our activation campaigns is entitled “Air Gupta” and aims to empower and mobilise South Africans in the fight against corruption,” says Corruption Watch director David Lewis. Read our press release on the Guptagate here.

“If senior public figures can be influenced to act in contravention of the law simply because powerful names are dropped, we need to take bold and innovative steps to increase our understanding of corruption.”

The appearance of the jumbo computer screen sparked some interesting opinions and comments from onlookers at the various sites. Lethabo Pheela, an accounting student at UJ, had some food for thoughts when he said: “If corruption becomes a norm, then there is no more room for ethics … corruption is a way of living".

When asked about the biggest causes of corruption in South Africa, Wilson Seema at Maponya Mall said it was the leaders who were responsible for the massive amount of graft in the country. Seema believes that leaders only care about self-enrichment, and not serving the people. “We have many leaders but they do not function, our leaders have become greedy because they only think of themselves,” he added.

Faried Arendze, a business analyst, commented at Maponya that poverty played a big role: “I think the main cause of corruption is poverty; people do not earn enough money so they resort to corrupt ways as a means of living. Those who have the money but are still corrupt, are just greedy.”

There were also powerful messages coming from UJ’s youngsters: “You might get a favour from lecturers; or you might get a favour from a head of department. You might even get a favour from a security guard … corruption starts there with the minor things,” said fine arts student Owami Mbele, who believes that corruption undermines one’s ability. “It kills the enrichment of success.”

On Guptagate, Wilson Seema said: “The Gupta saga is having a huge impact on the country at the moment, including all the youth of SA; the past allegations of corrupt leaders tend to be very demoralising. How are we supposed to respect our leaders if they are behaving this way? It seems as if everything is about money. This is the main problem, it’s all about money.”

Other UJ students expressed their frustrations about traffic departments and not being able to secure bookings for a drivers’ license without paying a bribe. Nelly Mkhwanazi, a hospitality student, said: "If you go and get your licence you have to pay R2 500. If you don't, you fail."

The aim of our public awareness campaigns are to encourage South Africans to report corruption and join the fight against it. Speaking at Maponya Mall, King Dlodlo, a foreman, hit the nail on the head: “For us to have a better country, corruption must be reported.”

Excerpt
Our heroes this week are the people of Gauteng who, during our recent public awareness drive, showed us just how angry and fed up they are with corruption. At the Bara taxi rank, the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Zoo Lake and Maponya Mall in Soweto, individuals were eager to speak out about how this scourge is hurting them and also learn how they can become active corruption-fighters. For putting their feet down, taking a stand and showing they will not be passive victims any longer, these individuals get our nod as heroes of the week.
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