Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, July 15, 2005

Corruption: The Good News and Bad News
The Business Day carries the results of a survey undertaken by Research Surveys on perceptions of corruption within South Africa. There's good news and bad news.

The bad news is that there has been a marked rise in the number of people perceiving corruption as "becoming a way of life in SA". 74% of those polled in January agreed with this statement, which went up to 83% in the second survey in June.

But there's plenty of good news, especially for Thabo Mbeki. In the June survey, 86% of respondents felt President Thabo Mbeki'?s dismissal of Jacob Zuma sent a clear message on corruption to the rest of government. When asked if dismissing Zuma demonstrated Mbeki's commitment to a transparent government, 83% agreed and 11% disagreed. According to the poll, Mbeki's approval rating rose from 48% in January to 83% after he fired Zuma.

As I've said before, it was an incredibly brave move from Mbeki, which is being proven by the current waves of populist attacks on him, and one that will have long-term effects on the acceptance of corruption in South Africa.