On Corruption in South Africa An Alternative Interpretation for the Case of the Police Service

"This paper seeks to shed some light on the complexities of the phenomenon of corruption and, by extension,institutional performance. It focuses on the SAPS to illustrate its assertions. As a key institution responsible for social order in a country with a history of high levels of crime and conflict, the SAPS has a pivotal role to play in the normalisation of post-apartheid South African society. This piece points to the detrimental impact of corruption in this regard, which emanates from, among other things, a convoluted relationship between citizens’ negative perceptions of corruption and, ironically, a need to engage in such activity to fill the void that is created by the unpredictability of outcomes under conditions of precarious provision of public services. More importantly, perhaps, corruption is also a result of social practices that collide with assumed notions of good bureaucratic practice associated with the prototypical Weberian state, as well as the vulnerabilities of civil servants and ordinary citizens in particular social contexts. Much more needs to be explored around these complexities relating to the relationship between citizens’ attitudes, opinions and behaviours, and institutional performance."