How Corrupt Is South Africa?

South Africa’s economy has been ranked as one of the world’s most miserable, with soaring public debt and a quarter of the workforce unemployed To combat this, President Jacob Zuma and his administration have promised austerity measures

Yet Zuma himself has spent more than $20 million dollars of state funds for upgrades to his home, which included a pool, a chicken coop and an amphitheatre And, in May 2016, it was revealed that the state had spent roughly $550 thousand dollars on cars for Zuma’s four wives So, we wanted to know, just how corrupt is South Africa? Well, South Africa actually has a strict legal framework that is tough on corruption, with bribery, extortion, fraud and money laundering, all considered criminal offences However these laws often go unenforced, and corruption is widely considered a plague on the South African economy This corruption generally comes in two forms

One is tenderpreneurship, which is when a public official or other well-connected individual uses their high status to profit from inflated contracts, which are also called “tenders” The practice is so prevalent that some economists say it is partially to blame for South Africa’s stifled development and tarnished image as an attractive destination for foreign investment In one of the most infamous cases of tenderpreneurship, Zuma and his former financial advisor, received kickbacks from a multi- billion dollar arms deal In 2005, the advisor was found guilty of fraud and corruption, and Zuma himself faced more than 700 charges linked to the scandal But in 2009, shortly before Zuma was elected president, all charges against him were dropped

Corruption was the subject of public outcry again in June 2016, when violent protests broke out in the city of Tshwane South Africa’s ruling party chose an allegedly corrupt senior official rather than a local person for the mayoral candidacy Corruption is also rampant in the private sector Much of it comes from abusing the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, or BEE, which was created in the early 2000’s as direct response to nearly half a century of Apartheid policies which favored white-owned businesses The law aims to redistribute assets and wealth among the country’s minority population by requiring businesses to hire a set proportion of Black employees in order to secure licenses and government contracts

The law in this case, “Black” is an umbrella term for historically disadvantaged people, and can include women and other minorities Corruption takes the form of fronting, which occurs when a mostly white-owned business misrepresents itself as racially diverse in order to benefit from BEE But South Africa is arguably best known for Zuma’s questionable practices Many of them have been tied to the infamous Indian-born Gupta brothers, who have personal and professional ties with Zuma The brothers allegedly wield their power to appoint individuals to positions in parliament that directly benefit their own business ventures

However this, like most other instances of high-level corruption, has been difficult to prove And, despite calls for Zuma to step down and an attempt from the country’s opposition party to impeach him, he is projected to serve the remainder of his second term until 2019 Until South Africa elects a more just leader and further enforces their existing anti-corruption framework, this shady behavior will likely continue South Africa’s corrupt government is part of the reason why the country’s was named as having one of the world’s most miserable economies Find out what other countries made the 2016 Misery Index by watching this video

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