The Phenomenon of Corruption in the South African Public Sector: Challenges and Opportunities
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
There is a great recognition by Public Administration academics, practitioners and civil society alike that corruption in the public sector has an adverse impact on service delivery. This emanates from the understanding that corruption does not only undermine the development goals of the country, but also that it hits the poor the most as resources that are meant to assist them out of their nervous conditions are diverted to the benefits of the few corrupt elites. Under these circumstances,
... circumstances, structural inequalities, which have come to define and characterise the society in post-apartheid South Africa, are reinforced. This is evident in the fact that the rich continues to get richer as the poor get even poorer. This is a condition which is not conducive for social and political stability as well as sustainable development. It is largely because of this consideration that effective anticorruption work is critical for promoting good governance in a developmental state such as what South Africa aspires to be. The article argues that although the South African public sector has a sound legislative framework and strategies for combating corruption, challenges such as the weaker application of the legislation and oversight mechanisms; insufficient political will; political deployments, and an absence of meritocratic systems provide opportunities for unethical, fraudulent and/or corrupt activities to thrive. To this end, the article presents an overview of the phenomenon of corruption in the South African public sector with the view of identifying the causes of corruption; the challenges of combating corruption as well as the implications these challenges pose for service delivery. The article concludes by making some recommendations on how to resolve the scourge of corruption.