South Africa

Government losing control of South Africa

Confidence in South Africa’s government has weakened, and the country’s control over corruption has declined substantially over the past few decades.

This was revealed at the Nedgroup Pre-elections Treasurers’ Roundtable on 24 April 2024, where Nedbank economist Isaac Matshego said several indicators assess a government’s effectiveness.

He explained that Nedbank monitors government effectiveness in delivering education, housing, and security services.

Their metrics show South Africa’s government effectiveness has been on a downward trend since 1996.

The graph below illustrates government effectiveness, where 2.5 shows a very effective government, and -2.5 indicates a very weak government.

In 2020, South Africa’s government dipped into the negatives, indicating a severe decrease in effectiveness.

Source: Nedbank’s Isaac Matshego

Another measure used to indicate government effectiveness is the prevalence of corrupt activities, which Matshgo said has proliferated significantly over recent years.

He referred to research done by Transparency International, which showed that corruption in South Africa has increased over the last five years, and the country is now classified as a ‘flawed democracy’.

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is Transparency International’s flagship research product and a leading global indicator of public sector corruption.

The index offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries and territories worldwide.

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories worldwide by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, scoring on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

South Africa received a score of 41, which is below the global average of 43. It is classified as a flawed democracy.

The country also dropped to its lowest overall ranking since the index was created. It plummeted from 72 in 2022 to 83 in 2023.

South Africa also dropped out of the top 10 in the sub-Saharan African region. Its highest rank was 61 out of 168 countries in 2015.

Nedbank’s research showed a significant decline in the government’s control of corruption over recent years, with a massive downturn seen in 2021.

The graph below shows the country’s control of corruption over the past few decades, where 2.5 shows strong control, and -2.5 indicates weak control.

Source: Nedbank’s Isaac Matshego


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