In the wake of the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla, opposition parties have been doing all they can to make this an election issue and keep the tale of excess and waste of R250 million fresh in the minds of citizens.
Yet, the jury is out as to whether corruption really was an election issue, and whether citizens had been sufficiently angered by the expenditure on Nkandla to shift their voting preferences.
South Africa has a strong anti-corruption framework and has signed a raft of international treaties and conventions on preventing and combatting corruption. Despite this, South Africa is increasingly struggling to implement legislation on corruption. This is due to various factors, including a lack of capacity and political will.
The Afrobarometer survey on public perceptions of corruption, which was released last year, provides some insight regarding attitudes towards corruption. It found that 66% of South Africans believe the government is failing in ensuring a society free of corrupt and unethical conduct. Only 33% believe that the government is succeeding in the fight against corruption, and 1% indicated that they are not aware of its performance in this regard.
The most recent Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) 2012 South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) shows that 74% of South Africans believe that corruption has increased. A small minority of 10% believed it had decreased, and 12% felt that the situation remained static. It also showed that public awareness of corruption is increasing.