South Africa

Three municipalities account for over 70% of corruption complaints

Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Cape Town are hotspots for corruption, accounting for over 70% of corruption complaints in South Africa.

This was revealed in Corruption Watch’s (CW) latest report, which revealed that the organisation received over 2,000 corruption complaints in 2023.

Since its inception in 2012, CW has received over 46,900 complaints of alleged corruption. This is an average of 11 reports per day from every part of South Africa.

In 2023, the organisation received 2,110 corruption complaints. As in the previous year, the highest number of reports received by the sub-sector focused on issues of wrongdoing and malfeasance in the mining sector (38%).

The policing sector accounted for the second-highest number of complaints received, at 23%. This was followed by business at 16%, basic education at 12%, and state-owned entities at 11%.

“These figures speak to the government’s failure to provide basic services and rights, such as efficient policing, safety and security, access to decent employment, education, and services intended to improve people’s lives,” the report said.

In addition, in 2023’s report, the prevalence of corruption at the local government level emerged as a key trend. 

Out of the five municipalities with the highest number of corruption reports, three metropolitan municipalities – Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Cape Town – collectively accounted for 71% of corruption incidents.

They were followed by Dannhauser and Matjhabeng, at 15% and 14% respectively.

Across provinces, Gauteng accounted for 37% of complaints, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 19%, Free State with 10%, and the Western Cape with 9%. 

These provinces collectively represent 75% of reports and are all considered hotspots for monitoring corruption. 

CW director Karam Singh told Newzroom Afrika that the types of corruption allegations vary.

In particular, there are massive issues in South Africa’s metros around maladministration, irregular spending, and many allegations of corruption cases linked to irregular procurements.

The predominant types of corruption that featured in 2023 were maladministration, a major area of concern counting for 34% of reports, followed by fraud (21%), employment irregularities (16%), bribery or extortion (15%), and procurement irregularities (13%).

However, Singh said that this does not necessarily make those three municipalities the most corrupt entities within the public sector.

He explained that CW receives a variety of different complaints across national, provincial and local government.


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