Corruption in South Africa Through the Eyes of Activator & Associate Attorney, Irvin Chauke

By: Paul Mabote

“Corruption has become a fabric of our country and that is a very sad reality. Every single sector seems to be plagued with corruption, and it seems to be far worse in the public sector.” That is a concerned statement made by Irvin Chauke. Chauke is a 2015 Activator and also an associate attorney who was born and bred in Orange Farm, Gauteng.

On whether he believes the future of our coming generations is safe or not, he assertively answers: “No! …Recently a Ministerial task team released a report that found that there is sexual exploitation in the SANDF; where women are expected to trade sex for employment. We have members of the SAPS who constantly take bribes. The SANDF and SAPS are institutions that are expected to enforce the law, yet they are guilty of doing the opposite!

South Africa loses billions of rands every year because of the looting of state institutions; that is the reason why ESKOM, SABC, local municipalities and SAA, among others, are failing at their mandate. If the youth and society cannot trust the police, public hospitals and municipalities to deliver the expected services, it is very difficult for me to say that the future of the next generation is safe. Until we get rid of the culture of corruption, none of our futures are safe!”

Catalysts of corruption

Chauke believes the lack of leadership, adequate education and greed are what perpetuate the levels of corruption in South Africa, and that at the deepest core are politics. He explains: “In our country we have a system that allows politicians to flourish! Jacob Zuma is a good example of terrible leadership, because he managed to sell a whole country to the public sector.”

“Politicians play a major part in perpetuating corruption.” He continues. “…The rise of tenderpreneurs is fuelled by politicians who give themselves tenders through companies that are owned by their friends or give out tenders and get kickbacks. Corrupt politicians operate with impunity and as long as that continues to happen, corruption will continue to thrive.”

It begins at home

Irvin does not believe that corruption is limited only to those in power, but that as society, we have learned to be corrupt; exemplifying that a person can drink and drive, trusting that they can bribe a police officer if they get stopped on the road.

“When a person wants a driver’s license, they budget for corruption” he adds. “We easily accept as society that when you want something, you have to pay extra for it. We need to get rid of the shortcut mentality and understand that for that for each corrupt activity, there is someone who loses out.”

As a qualified attorney, Chauke is not hesitant to acknowledge that the Judiciary system has got its own failings, stating that there are situations where if you do not bribe a police official, clerks or prosecutors, then your case might have unnecessary delays. “Simple things like getting letters of authority can take forever if you are not willing to bribe an official at the masters.” He points out.

What you do not know…

“I think when people are in a position of authority they tend to take advantage. To a large extent corruption does affect people with less education and information, because they do not know when they are being taken advantage of or how to address a situation where a public official requests a bribe just to do their job. People who are more educated tend to be more informed and less gullible.”

Question: Do you think that the youth are able to help fight corruption?

Irvin Chauke:

“It is in fact their duty to fight corruption or else they will not have opportunities to better themselves. Their role is to fight for their beliefs and the recent protest shows how the youth can help in this fight. The emergence of youth based political parties that can run in local elections is another way the youth can contribute. We just need a youth that is informed and willing to participate in the democracy of our country. Once a person is principled, they can never be corrupted.”

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