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06 December 2012 at 14:14 - Posted by Midrand

SA slides down graft rankings - SANEWS


THE handling of government scandals, service delivery corruption, and rampant bribery have resulted in South Africa 's ranking in a table of the world's most corrupt states .

South Africa dropped five places in the Transparency International corruption perception index to 69th. There are 174 listed countries.

This country's latest ranking means that it is now hovering just above the "highly corrupt" category.

The Transparency International report, released yesterday, showed that the least corrupt country was Denmark and Somalia the most.

The rankings range from 0 to 100. Data are drawn from independent institutions specialising in governance and business climate analysis, such as the World Bank.

South Africa scored 43 points. Anything below 50 points indicates endemic corruption.

Chantal Uwimana, Transparency International director for Africa, said that though South Africa, compared to the rest of Africa, was not in a bad position, perceptions of corruption had increased.

"Now people believe there is a huge amount of corruption," she said.

Uwimana said the perceptions were based on corruption scandals and the perception that the government lacked resolve.

Scandals that the survey would have taken into account include the handling of the case of former national police commissioner Bheki Cele and his involvement in the R1.6-billion police leasing deal, in which he was found to have acted "unlawfully".

The Department of Public Works is refusing to disclose how much money is being spent on President Jacob Zuma's R274-million Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Said Uwimana: "There is a dire need for the government to take heed of warnings, especially when it comes to ensuring that the judiciary remains independent of political interference, particularly in relation to cases of corruption.

"There are strong perceptions of corruption where the political elite is above the law.

"The decrease [in South Africa's rating] is linked to issues such as access to information and socio-economic rights in terms of basic service delivery."

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said: "Corruption is one of our key areas of focus."

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