Navigating through the political/administrative corruption conundrum : South African case studies

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 16
  • Abstract:

    Corruption in the public and private spheres and entities in both South Africa and the rest of the world has generated much research and debate, eliciting many perspectives, ideas and beliefs and resulting in a number of theories. Although there is some disagreement about whether corruption threatens societies’ welfare, there is some agreement on the fundamentals, regarding issues such as integrity, ethics and the dichotomy between collective and individual corruption. There is also a common thread on the direct connection between the political and administrative aspects of the phenomenon. Especially in the public sphere, the link between political and administrative leadership has direct and indirect repercussions on all aspects of public management. This implies that such relationships are an integral part of a process that, on many occasions, leads to corruption. A collaborative, cooperative and deeply moral relationship between political and administrative leadership can act as a shield against corruption at all levels of public administration. This can only occur when such a relationship is based on an ethical foundation and integrity, and on solid knowledge management, innovative and comprehensive initiatives and multi-dimensional initiatives. This article focuses on key issues in South Africa’s public administration arena and the sometimes antagonistic or colluding relationships amongst political and administrative leaderships in the country in relation to corrupt practices and their processes, presenting specific cases studies of relations and involvement in corruption in municipalities as examples of the conundrum.