Public perception in Swaziland is that corruption within Government is ‘rife’, according to a new survey just published.
About 79 percent of 3,090 people interviewed said this in a survey conducted by the Swazi Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs through the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The Observer on Saturday newspaper (9 December 2017) published some of the survey’s results. It said, ‘Within the private sector and chiefdoms the respondents agreed that there were elements of corruption there, 36 percent and 29 percent concurred respectively.’
It added, ‘The survey states that the rural councils, bobandlancane (imiphakatsi) is where the corruption is perceived to be.
‘The report states that perceived major causes of corruption are poverty (58 percent), unemployment (54 percent) and greed (41 percent).
‘It is agreed that corruption comes in these following forms; giving and receiving bribes is high at 73 percent, abuse of power at 66 percent, misuse of public funds at 44 percent and misuse of public assets and facilities is at 40 percent.
The survey said that corruption was also evident in education, transportation, civic groups, town councils, manufacturing, construction and the media.
Corruption in Swaziland is not new. In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, which is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places.
It said, ‘The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.’
It added, ‘For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.’
It gave many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million (US$120,000) was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in use. The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred to another government department.
The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa stated, ‘This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.’
It added, ‘It has been suggested that Swaziland has no less than 31 millionaires who are junior government officials. In 2005, the then minister of finance Majozi Sithole estimated that corruption was costing the Swazi economy approximately E40 million a month.’
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