SA cops lead the pack in bribery, abuse of power – report

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    Corruption in schools stood at 30.6%, with the most common form of graft related to embezzlement of funds and resources theft, Corruption Watch says.

    Independent graft watchdog Corruption Watch yesterday released its latest report on corruption trends in government, pointing to high levels of abuse of power and bribery in the SA Police Service (SAPS), which have overtaken other sectors like schools, health and local government.

    According to the 2019 Analysis of Corruption Trends Report, the third edition of the half-yearly publication, SAPS led the pack in the abuse of power and bribery, which stood at 35.7% and 30.6% respectively.

    In other sectors, it was found that corruption in schools stood at 30.6%, with the most common form of corruption related to embezzlement of funds and theft of resources.

    In health facilities countrywide, the most prevalent form of corruption is in employment irregularities, followed by procurement, standing at 33.3% and 15.1% respectively. At the local government level, corruption related to procurement irregularities in municipalities, which took the form of rigged processes – the exclusion of bidders in favour of family and friends, as well as inflated prices – made up 35.5%.

    Staff in clinics and hospitals were at the centre of employment and procurement irregularities – without any oversight. Patients who depended on public health facilities for service, were “denied their basic human rights”, the report stated.

    In some schools, principals, officials and governing body members deployed elaborate schemes “to steal funds and divert resources” intended to enhance education and the environment – constituting “a violation of human rights at the most fundamental level”.

    Corruption Watch executive director David Lewis said data has guided them “to intensify our engagement with the policing and health sectors”.

    “Where policing is concerned, we are presently building an easily accessible platform that will provide basic information about every police station, enabling communities to rate performance and hold police stations accountable.

    “If we are to tackle corruption and social ills like gender-based violence it is necessary that there is trust,” Lewis said. “But police have to earn that trust.“By providing a mechanism for accountability we are hoping to contribute to building that trust.”

    National SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said they welcome the report and “are not denying that there are elements who are corrupt among SAPS ranks”.

    “We have already arrested Johannesburg officers who were selling counterfeit goods and those selling dockets in Lenasia. As an organisation, we have put measures in place to root out corruption through anti-corruption units and strategies.

    “We will not stop dealing with those who are corrupt among our ranks – both criminally and departmentally,” Naidoo said. Lewis said the work of the organisation has over the past year focused increasingly on police and health sectors.

    Two previous reports have highlighted the extent to which confidence in the police has been eroded due to corruption – not only in South Africa but in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Corruption Watch was “encouraged by the resilience of whistle blowers who are instrumental in outing corruption at all levels, thereby sending a resounding message to those in power to clean up their act or face the consequences”.

    Source: The Citizen