Corruption in South Africa: The demise of a nation? New and improved strategies to combat corruption

Authors Trevor Budhram, Nicolaas Geldenhuys

ISSN: 1996-2118
Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Police Practice, School of Criminal Justice, Unisa; Unisa
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 31 Issue 1, p. 26 – 57


There is little doubt about the widespread incidence of corruption in South Africa. Its effects are manifold and can culminate in state capture, where a government’s decision-making is influenced by a corrupt, politically connected lite, and political and statutory powers misused to maintain a symbiosis of self-enrichment. Corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, and facilitates and finances organised crime and terrorist activities. It is an obstacle to sustainable economic, political and social development, leads to an increase in the cost of doing business, discouraging investment and resulting in a waste of public resources. It can compromise the fabric and integrity of a country’s criminal justice system, as it ultimately weakens law enforcement efforts. Over the past two decades there have been a number of government initiatives aimed at combating corruption. However, none of these seem effective to rid South Africa of the plague of corruption, especially serious corruption at high levels in government. This paper addresses old and existing anti-corruption strategies and proposes new ones which, the authors believe, should serve to consolidate and strengthen existing anti-corruption efforts across all sectors. The authors argue for a renewed holistic anti-corruption approach, jointly driven by government and the private sector, an overhaul of the status quo and the roll-out of a new, effective anti-corruption tapestry.