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Corruption Watch (CW) has been at the forefront of the fight against corruption in South Africa since its launch in January 2012. It was established in response to the growing levels of corruption in South Africa and aims to provide a platform for the public to engage and report on their own experiences of corruption as a way of holding the corrupt to account. CW is an initiative of several concerned citizens representing civil society, the public and private sectors, and its establishment was boosted by support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the office of the Public Protector, among others.
Corruption Watch is committed to fighting corruption in South Africa, and to helping to create a corruption-free society. Operating from one office in Johannesburg, the organisation conducts its work in a spirit of integrity, transparency, openness, and accountability, and in co-operation with a diverse array of organisations and individuals, thereby ensuring that every segment of our society affected by corruption is represented.
CW is an accredited chapter for Transparency International (TI), a global movement that seeks to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society. The status of accredited national chapter means that CW is now part of TI’s network of just under 100 countries and is TI’s official reference point in South Africa.
CW’s vision is to ensure that the custodians of public resources, and their private sector partners, act responsibly to advance the interests of the public, and that the opportunities for entering into corrupt relationships are significantly reduced.
The primary objective, therefore, is to encourage and enable active public participation in combating corruption. By shining a light on corruption and those who act corruptly, CW believes that it promotes transparency and accountability, and protects the beneficiaries of public goods and services.
How does it work?
CW owes its effectiveness to its model of relying on the public to report corruption to its team members, who then use the reports as an important source of information to fight corruption and hold leaders accountable for their actions. As of June 2018, the organisation had received over 24 000 reports of alleged corruption from across South Africa.
CW provides a platform for reporting corruption for anyone to safely share their experiences and speak out against corruption. Its communication channels include the website, a corruption hotline, a WhatsApp number, an SMS “callme” service, social media, email or post.
InvestigationThe CW team investigates selected reports of alleged acts of corruption, in particular those cases that have the most serious impact on our society – for instance, those involving basic health or education services, which affect the most disadvantaged South Africans. These findings are handed over to the relevant authorities to take further action, and the progress of each case is monitored. The team works with mainstream and community media to make sure that corruption is fully exposed through its investigative work.
CW gathers and analyses information to identify patterns and hot spots of corruption, preparing research reports on these hot spots to expose and find solutions to systemic corruption. These findings are also shared with the public, like-minded non-governmental organisations and public sector bodies, in multiple forums and spaces, with the aim of increasing collaboration and effectiveness.
CW’s campaigns help to mobilise people to take a stand against corruption. Our campaigns involve the public, community groups and other organisations such as trade unions.