Corruption getting worse, says Transparency International

More than half of all those who come in contact with public service providers – 56 per cent – were asked to pay a bribe in the past year, according to a new survey of six Southern African countries published by Transparency International, the anti-corruption organization.

The survey which has been released Tuesday simultaneously in Maputo, Mozambique and Berlin, Germany also found that across the region 62 per cent of people believe corruption has become worse in the past three years.

Transparency International surveyed more than 6,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe between 2010 and 2011.

The police are perceived to be the most corrupt institution across all countries with bribes more often paid to the police than any other institution – 49 per cent of people who had been in contact with the police reported having paid a bribe.

Paradoxically, the government is the most trusted institution to fight corruption. Of all institutions, 41 per cent of people trust the government most to fight corruption, followed by 16 per cent who trust NGOs most.

NGOs are seen to play a particularly important role in Malawi, with 32 per cent of people reporting that they trust them most to fight corruption.

The good news is that 80 per cent of those interviewed said they were prepared to get involved in the fight against corruption and three-quarters said ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

“Governments must wake up to the fact that people will not tolerate corruption any more and start reforming weak institutions, particular the police. People have a right to feel that they are protected by the police and not harassed,” said Chantal Uwimana, Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East at Transparency International.

The report found that people in all six countries named the police as the most corrupt service provider of the nine featured in the survey and that most bribes were paid to the police.

The results showed some regional differences. In four out of the six countries people reported paying bribes to speed up services but in South Africa and the DRC more bribes were paid to avoid problems with the authorities.

In five of the six countries people trusted the government more than non-governmental organisations, the media, international organisations or the private sector to fight corruption. In Malawi, however, non-governmental organisations were trusted just as much as the government.

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