Poltical Corruption as a Long-Going Economical Epidemic

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The focus of the following study will be on that directs it attention on corruption of funds in local government with emphasise specifically on the locality of the Emfuleni municipality. With that basis, this research proposal will also attempt to find out the root cause of corruption in our local municipality and find whether there a solution can be drawn up to deal with this economic epidemic. In understanding corruption one has to put a definition to the word ‘corruption’, one of the most classical conceptions of corruption is and can be explained as “A general disease of the body politics was then stated by philosophers Plato and Aristotle”. Plato described it in his theory of the “perverted” has constituted that constitutions such as -Democracy, oligarchy and tyranny- Plato had a worry that these regimes which instead of being guided by the law and constitution they were serving the interests of the rulers. “These fundamental general notions of corruption all practically define corruption as dysfunctional. For it is seen as destructive of a particular political order, be it monarchy, aristocracy, or polity, the latter a constitutional limited popular rule, and thus by definition devoid of any function within a political order”. Although the classical conception of today with regards to corruption is centred the thoughts of denoted by the political thoughts of the likes of Machiavelli, Montesquieu and Rosseau. Machiavelli described corruption as a process at which the virtue of the citizens was undermined and eventually destroyed.

In today’s society the revelations of corrupt government officials within our local municipalities has become somewhat of a norm within many of the municipalities within South Africa. Of which is a negative sign, not only to potential donors, whether it be donors for the international of local sphere, we have to get to a point in society where the presence of corruption on every level of government should be treated with the exact importance as a serious crime .i.e. Murder. Because what corrupt officials have done to the out view of corruption is make it seen as if it were not as detrimental as it is, which then make the residence of a locality believe that corruption of any sort is and can be justifiable, If the means of the justification is makes sense. And in many instances the justification of many officials lies of the basis of either (i) they did not have the slightest idea of what was taking place and (ii) they only did it because of the injustices of the past and how corruption was not dealt and looked upon back then, as it is looked upon in today’s society. In the understanding of political corruption one has to either read of refer to Robert Payne’s book The Corrupt Society (1975:175-184) which tells a story about Lord Acton, he who was born in Naples in the year 1843 and was also a historian who regarded “power” as tainted with evil. He also observed that once a class, it either being a political party, or even a church has obtained power, it then in most instances becomes intolerant of the claims of other classes, political parties and beliefs.

Orientation and background

There is a very famous saying by Acton that states that, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” of which that touches of the paradox of power and morals (2001:16). There to is also the saying “Bad company corrupts good hearts” with these two saying, it can be closely linked with public officials and with the emphasis on Emfuleni local municipality. The subject of corruption is often a very sensitive one and often tends to evoke particular patterns of reactions which intis violence. There are current debates shared amongst political scientists worldwide which at the centre of them the issue of corruption as a characteristic non-Western countries.

These cases and discussions of corruption entail acts of bribery, extortion, fraud, kickbacks and so to collusion which have resulted into backwards economies, political instability and predator elites. And amongst the countries within the globe it is most common in in developing countries, specifically Africa as a continent, although corruption remains a universal phenomenon, as it has existed throughout history. And the worst part of the corruption within the local levels of government is that most residents of municipalities are witnesses to the fact that it exists. There are a number of surveys that have been conducted, but one that sparked particular interest is on survey that was published in February 1996 of which detailed popular beliefs about ethics and corruption Emfuleni Municipality: 46% of the sample felt that government Officials were engaged in corruption and only 6% of the sample believed that there was clean government, while 41% thought that public corruption was increasing (POS Report, No 3, Feb. 1996). Corruption within our local municipalities is a revelation of unethical behaviour by elected public officials/servants are a sign of a profound malaise and with that has come the realization the there is a need to regulate such behaviour in the attempts to stop the rot. Although corruption is a known issue it still has not been included into the scope of mainstream social science scholarships and studies towards it by academics and curriculum. Although the voices championing an anti-corruption approach towards leaders in powerful positions in the crusade of the regime of good governance that has been embraced by many international agencies such as the world Bank, African Union, NEPAD and almost about 20 other African states, and civil society. According to Katsenelinbogen (1983, p236) he identifies the two basic types of corruption: “1. Action whose harmful effects on society are questionable. Of which according to Katsenelinbogen, this type of corruption mostly involves redesigning the systemand legalizing the appropriate actions of the people. 2. Actions that unambiguously harm society. Such acts should be treated as corrupt and criminal.”

Problem Statement

The turmoil and shortage of revenue that is the result of corruption, which affect the economic progression of local municipalities. Which results in a defiance by the residence of the municipality towards the payment of basic services like electricity, municipal rates, refuge removal. All these are inter-linked and often the results of corruption. Where many municipalities like that of Emfuleni local municipality, where the municipality has not seen a clean audit in the last 10 years, and has been making headline with the accusations and revelations of scandalous acts of corruption ranging from nepotism to fraud. An example can be given with the municipality of Emfuleni, within the duristriction of the municipality there is a town known as Evaton which residence of the Evaton suffer with a poor state of sanitation and housing. On top of that there is a Consistent problem with sewage leakages and also a lack of flushing toilets. Of which according to a municipality these are regarded as basic services that are to be provided to residents of a locality, but due to the issue of corruption there is a shortage of revenue to rectify this issue, resulting in weak and unsatisfactory service delivery. Which also have a health risk attached to is with a lack of proper sanitation and services delivery this then can contribute to the contracting of sicknesses like cholera, and other water borne diseases this is according to the (EPWP workers, 22 August 2016). The same can be said about electricity and the high level of illegal breaching of electricity by some of the residents, of which the feel the affordability of electricity is way out of their capabilities so they believe that breaching is the answer to their outcry. According to Theodor M. Smith (1971) “Corruption may tend to destroy some new nations greatest potential assets, the enthusiasm, idealism and sympathy of its youth. In the event that the idealism and enthusiasm of the younger generation turns to cynicism, not only political stability but long run economic development efforts are bound to be affected”.

Central Theoretical statement/Hypothesis

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The purpose of this research proposal is to review the “state-of-the-art” in local municipality corruption research. There are two objectives. First, it targets to evaluation the integral elements of a number strategies that have been used to analyse the reasons and outcomes of corruption. Thus, the study is organised as a literature review, extracting and evaluating the core factors of corruption research in economics, political science and sociology/anthropology. Second, it goals to discover how research has been applied in developing countries. This is a query of what coverage pointers have been made, and what would possibly be learned from the anti-corruption campaigns and policies applied in unique countries.

Main research questions and objectives

The following research questions are posed as a result of the above mentioned background information:

  • How does Corruption within local municipalities affect the living conditions of the residents of the municipality?
  • What is the reason behind the issue of non-payment of services by residents of Emfuleni Local Municipality?
  • How should local elected officials deal with corruption within their faction and within the municipality?
  • What are some of the strategies that can be used to combat corruption in all levels of the state?
  • What are the scales for measuring corruption? Research objectives
  • To contextualize the effects of corruption towards living conditions of residents of a local municipality.
  • To figure out the reason behind issues of non-payment of services by residents of the municipality of Emfuleni.
  • To investigate what the reprimands and consequences of corruption by elected officials in the localities and their factions within the municipality.
  • To determine possible strategies to combat corruption within all levels of the state.
  • To find scales of measuring corruption.

The significant of the study

The study is important because the political environment has in some way adopted corruption in the their governance, and this is now evident in all levels of governance where the presents of corruption is one that is do surreal that it in some way has seen to been politically accepted in society, just as long as it isn’t higher than a certain amount. Which is the worst mentality to look at an issue. Because not only does the presents of corruption affect the livelihood of residents in a particular community, It also goes further in affecting provisional governmental services such as service delivery (wastage removal, supplying of water and electricity) etc. so in that regard the constant solution and aims of an anti-corruption view on all levels of government will hopefully significantly decrease the current level of corruption within local government.

The aim of the study

The aims of the study is to determine the possible routes that can be taken to uproot the high level of corruption that many municipalities experience and with specific reference to the municipality of Emfuleni. If this means that there is to an increase in the availability of scholars writing reports on corruptions, then so be it. Corruption especially on the local level has seen many people live in conditions that are unhuman and most of the causes does towards selfish government officials that only want to financially uplift themselves, whereas they mandated to serve the interests of the people first before and other need. Therefor the study will intensively penetrate the causes of corruption and find a way to bring corrupt officials to justice, and rectify the wrongs corruption has endure the people.


The recommendations that I as an individual would recommend along with that recommendations that are found in literature would be. Firstly the participation of civil society in raising their voices against corruption, whether they witness it or they hear of it. Because one voice might be insignificant but collective voices coming together in the aims to rid corruption and corrupt official from power will definitely make a difference. This recommendation is also extended to influencers on social media, people in power, media outlets (journalists, reporters). This is to expose the corrupt act of these people and rectify it in order to move forwards. Another recommendation would be pressurizing our government to put more pressure on the audits of municipalities, so that most of the municipalities and their officials find it harder to perform acts of corruption, knowing that it will be exposed if that act is performed. Also a closer regulation of on the officials of the local municipality and what they have been mandated to achieve, if they are found not to possess either the leadership quality or either they are at log heads with the residents of the locality they should be dismissed of their duties. Research Methodology In this research, a qualitative research design linked to a thorough literature review, interview will be adopted in order to penetrate the roots of corruption and understanding both the ripple effects of it within the local sphere of government and also in order to discover the possible avenues for corrections in addressing corruption. According to Denzin and Lincoln (2005:3), qualitative research locates the researcher in the real world and is composite of a set of interpretive and material practices that make the world visible.

Literature Review

The literature review is going to form part of the theoretical basis of the study. In the formation of this research facilities and libraries were are to be used, such as that of the North-West University Vaal Campus B13 library, as well as that of Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark are to be used to access literature needed in the study. Also with the aid of publications such as those of journals, reports and the use of the local newspapers will also be used. They following places that will be utilized Ferdinand Postma-Library North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, the Public Library at Vanderbijlpark and also that of the Emfuleni Local Council. Interviews In terms of the interviews these are structured qualitative interviews that are to be posed to the residents of the locality of Emfuleni in terms of finding out how they are affected by the high level of corruption that in turn affect the quality of service delivery. And hopefully with the availability of municipal officials I can then also take to interviewing them and getting their say on my research topic. A hopeful amount of at least 5 officials, in order to get first-hand information on the issue of corruption, within the Emfuleni Local Municipality. According to Sarah (2013:132), “qualitative interviews provide opportunities for mutual discovery, understanding, reflection, and explanation via a path that is organic, adaptive, and oftentimes energising”.


Corruption as we know it is economic epidemic, and it is a huge problem within local municipalities. Of which sees many municipalities collapse due to it and then the ripple effect is then passed throughout the residents of that municipality. Municipalities are the backbone of our society and the people are the reason that service delivery is a possibility through their monthly contributions of Tax, which is used to fund services. Corruption is corruption whether small of big it still is a rot.

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