Corruption Towards a Comprehensive Societal Response
“In the changing circumstances of our times, a conservative assault on the constitution from the very powerful in our society is raising its ugly head. It is beyond doubt that corruption and patronage are so pervasive, rampant and crippling in our society that we are on the verge of being deemed a dysfunc-tional state.”
The preamble of the South African Constitution envisages a society based on demo-cratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. Government is to be based on the will of the people; the quality of life of all citizens is to be improved and the potential of each person freed. Corruption is one of the greatest threats to the construction of such a society. Corruption is therefore an antithesis to democracy and the rule of law. Corruption diverts resources that are needed to improve the lives of citizens tot enrich a few, at great cost to many. Corruption prevents the state from fulfilling its constitutional obligations, erodes the legitimacy of our democratic government and subverts the rule of law. It gnaws away at the ethical fabric of our society, and stifles economic growth. It has a powerful negative effect on foreign investment by destroying investor confidence. Studies show that resources diverted by corrupt acts and resources withheld or diverted due to corruption is thought to represent 25% of Africa’s GDP and to increase the cost of goods by as much as 20%.
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