There’s actually no doubt the SA government is at its best in the fight against corruption in SA. But, a writer once said that if corruption is a leech that never easily dies, then bribery is that food corruption feeds on to be alive.
South Africa stands as one of those countries where bribery is becoming a common societal norm where all activities are usually accompanied with bribes.
The Need to get that much-needed job, driving licence, contracts, and even cellphone deal are just a few reasons why millions of South Africans paid bribes at one point or the other.
Bribery is when one person gives another person something of value (usually money) for the purpose of abusing the powers they have been entrusted with. A funny quote about bribery summed it up by saying: “like an apple a day keeps the doctor away, no one is immune to bribery”. A new report on Bribery in South Africa shows that the act of giving or receiving bribe is now socially accepted.
According to a survey conducted by the Ethics Institute of South Africa, south Africans are beginning to accept bribery as parts of the necessities for daily living.
The report which covered five provinces, with a participation of 6 380 people noted that at least 74% of South Africans knew someone who had been asked for a bribe in the same period.
“This means most people who are asked for a bribe end up paying it,” the report said.
“Most bribes (34%) are reportedly asked to avoid traffic offences; the next highest incidence is for jobs (17%).
“That was predominant in bribing to get a job, the study found. But there were also a few cases of bribes to get a promotion or avoid disciplinary action.
“Driving licences are the third highest at 13%, and this includes learner’s licences, but to a much lesser extent,” the report added.
The report also pointed out that the fourth highest trend was for tenders (7%). This occurred when cashiers or other business employees were approached to give reduced prices, or even goods for free in exchange for a bribe. This was reported in buying anything from groceries to cars.
“The surprise finding is for illicit discounts or theft from businesses,” said the report.
South Africans generally believe that bribery and corruption only affects those in the public sector but the released survey report proves that the private sector are not immune to them.
“Bribes for jobs is clearly prevalent in both the private and public sectors, unskilled and semi-skilled laborers were most vulnerable to being exploited to pay bribes for jobs. There almost seems to be a belief among them that there is no choice but to pay a bribe if you want a job,” the report says.
People across the country bribed to get into high school, make a murder charge go away, avoid arrest for selling illegal drugs, and to get assistance from a hospital.
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Those surveyed said it was socially acceptable to bribe, a lot said the high trends did not worry them. There was bribing for necessity and to get the most basic services; and there was bribing for greed.
“There is a reflection of the desperation of many in our society and an uncomfortable reminder that the adage ‘bread first, morals later’ might hold true,” the survey authors said.