Remember when there was complete transparency between the government and the citizens who voted them in? Think hard. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
If you Google “What is corruption?” the definition you will find is “dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.” But corruption is a shapeshifter and defining it, let alone solving it, is a bit more complicated.
In the news coverage around this issue, it always feels to me that corruption is everywhere. With cases like the Arms Deal, Nkandla or even deputy minister of agriculture (better known as Minister “Shoot to Kill”) Bheki Cele’s involvement in a shady property deal having dominated the front pages over the past couple of years. But more famously, the late Jackie Selebi’s “My hands are clean” testimony…
It is easy to feel like corruption is an overwhelming problem that young people cannot possibly stop but Corruption Watch, a civic organisation focussed on helping stem out corruption in South Africa, seems to think otherwise.
Corruption isn’t only about people in high places doing things and not recording them in the books. In some townships, you will find that some people have DSTV but only a handful pay for their monthly subscriptions. Step back to a step before that, and you will find that almost every household in South Africa has a TV set but not many of them pay their TV license. Another thing that affects the youth when it comes to corruption is trying to get a driver’s license where corruption can be the difference between getting one or having to redo your test. It is a discouraging process because one follows all the steps, books their learners, passes their learners test (fingers crossed), takes the driving lessons, finishes them and then, one gets to the practical driving test only to be failed because the instructor only speaks in Randelas.
According to Corruption Watch, the youth has the power to tip the scale when it comes to anti-corruption. Their #MyHandsAreClean campaign is a platform to give the youth a chance to raise their voices and stand up against corruption. One of the ways this can be done is by the nomination challenge which only requires one to take a selfie of their hands, then nominate their friends to do the same and then post them on social networks with the hashtag #MyHandsAreClean.
Of course a selfie of your hand won’t end the corruption going on but it will raise awareness and inspire a change within the youth.
For more on Corruption Watch, visit their website www.corruptionwatch.org.za
Words by Nhlanhla Mdanyana