A critique of anti-corruption measures implemented in the post-1994 South African public sector

10 Oct 2019

Corruption in South Africa is a cancer which has persistently eroded at, and undermined socio- economic development efforts, poverty alleviation and good governance in the country. A number of surveys conducted by different organisations on the corruption perceptions by the South African citizenry indicate that there is a growing perception that the government is failing to combat corruption and corruption is steadily increasing in the face of numerous strategies to curb it. Over the past ten years, the South African government has reacted to both domestic and international pressure to curb growing incidences of corruption within the public sector. This has led to the development of several pieces of legislation, special investigation units, committees, commissions of inquiry and task teams. Most of these are created on a case by case basis and yield no prosecutions or punishment for the guilty parties. A number of watchdog organisations and citizens have expressed fear that the blatant impunity enjoyed by high ranking civil servants undermines accountability and encourages corruption. Using literature review and the desk top approach, this paper contends that fighting public sector corruption in South Africa requires a single and encompassing institution which has autonomy, its own power and authority. Adopting the 'Rational Organizational Model' as a theoretical basis, the paper argues that a single organisation will prevent overlapping and duplication of work. The constant creation of task teams, commissions of inquiry and investigative units make it challenging to track success and effectiveness. The paper recommends that the work of a single organisation can lead to cases being investigated, monitored leading to prosecution and punishment. This affords the organisation a systematic way to determine lessons and best practices in addressing and eradicating corruption