Wednesday, July 24, 2024

North-West University: Poverty thrives where corruption is high


By Bertie Jacobs

“When good governance is sacrificed on the altar of corruption, service delivery falters. Where corruption thrives, as we have seen in many of our municipalities, an increase in poverty becomes inevitable.”

This is according to Prof Kedibone Phago, Director of the North-West University (NWU) School for Government Studies, who explains that corruption is killing the country’s future.

Recent figures suggest that more than 18,2 million South Africans live in extreme poverty in 2023, an increase from the previous year. Projections show that this number will only increase, and corruption is at the heart of this dilemma.

“The essence of corruption is that it diverts resources from their intended use and instead resources are used to serve nefarious agendas. Resources are deliberately exploited to benefit certain individuals or groups rather than the intended beneficiaries. Often, the powerful are involved because it is easier to sweep such corrupt actions under the carpet. We have seen from many reports of the Auditor General and even during the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, also known as the Zondo Commission, that many of the people who enable corruption are in powerful positions, highly educated and sophisticated. This makes it even more difficult from a law enforcement perspective to prosecute. This is especially the case where our law enforcement agencies are deliberately weakened to ensure that their investigative capacity is crippled,” explains Prof Phago.

He goes on to say that: “The effects of corruption are usually devastating, especially to the integrity of governance processes and to the citizens who need public services to lead their lives with dignity. The examples are all around us where there is an annual budget allocation and the government makes a commitment to parliament about spending plans and priorities, without any meaningful implementation of those plans. Even in cases where the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statements are made, they remain a talk show and have no material benefit for citizens. The reality is that citizens in developing countries such as ours need quality services such as education, health, water and sanitation, an effective police force, roads and infrastructure and mobile connectivity, among others. When these basic services are not provided, the dignity of the people is directly affected, which can lead to populist politics.”

The NWU is committed to helping achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which entail the eradication of poverty, the promotion of well-being, access to clean water and sanitation, economic growth and the reduction of inequalities. Therefore, it is imperative to focus on the impact of corruption on communities and to identify ways to curb corruption. The establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council (NACAC) is a positive development for the country, which needs to be supported. This body was established on the recommendation of the Zondo Commission.

“Citizens have several options if they want to play a role in stopping corruption. For me, there are two main considerations. The first is the role of parliament in holding the executive authority to account, which remains an important avenue. Citizens need to use their relationship with public representatives in parliament to get involved in such matters. Second, citizens need to be organised, particularly through civil society and non-governmental organisations. When citizens are divided along ethnic, racial, class, language and other lines, they often become susceptible to populist politics. In fact, it is usually populist politicians who exploit these elements to maintain their relevance instead of genuinely exposing corruption and advocating for investment-friendly policies that could help develop the country,” says Prof Phago.

Corruption must be put to the sword if the country is to realise its potential, and it is through engaged, active citizenship that it can be dealt a fatal blow.


  1. Zambians have since August 2021 come to learn that poverty thrives where upnd is governing. Hh is the spirit of poverty. BMW

    • yuo are used to handouts. TODAY the mind set of citizens is changing from waiting to be given by bonanza, atm, and Kasakaa, people are planning to raise income on their own. subsidies and handouts have made almost all african countries to remain underdeveloped . Atleast we nove great hope of some desired development. let those who want to remain lazy and begging continue and remain economcal complaints

    • Nonsense talk by Misisi slumlord. For ten yrs your PF was engineering poverty with falling economic indicators resulting in debts,falling GDP and the infamous Eurobond default.Bunch of hypocrites.

  2. To end corruption all thieves should be arrested that is why myself i dont have regards for Politicians especially Presidents and the ministers these people have no heart for their citizens they are very dangerous people.

  3. The author is right that parliament has a role in holding the executive authority to account. And this accounting can be enforced by the Judiciary. However, we shouldnt forget that Democracy functions only with the required Democratic atmosphere. In other words Democracy functions with fundamental rights such as freedom of speech. Apart from Media, Parliament should be a platform for freedom of speech. A democratic country has to ensure freedom of speech for all citizens. In Zambia this is not happening as Government and its parliament and its Judiciary I must say, wants to bully all opposition with concocted legislation

  4. Poverty arises through Zambian politicians.They are thieves and live luxury and steal also everyday. That is why they even refuse to review their assets. To the same rules that they make. Very shamefull liars.

  5. What happened to Lebanon’s economy is what is going to happen to Zambia’s economy. We have the Panama papers leader in charge now. Be smart & don’t get burnt when the ponzi he’s concorting collapses.

  6. Again, we are missing the point here, it’s not the job of the government to build the economy please, it’s us ourselves Zambians to work as entrepreneurs. See we are busy importing finished products here in Zambia instead of manufacturing them here. These are opportunities which are just going begging in the air.

    Those who were there during UNIP time we were manufacturing most of the products and even exporting excess, but along the way someone betrayed us we stopped everything, that is where we went wrong.

    Start solving the problems Zambia is facing I can assure you, you will be a billionaire, do not start the game of Tom & Jerry let us do it ourselves.

    GRZ has already given us free education what more do you need, our enemy here is laziness that is what is kill us.

    • Iweeeee! “GRZ has already given us free education ” GRZ gives us the wrong education. The education that makes you wait to be employed after17 years at school.

  7. Political Party that defaults in payment of loan must never be allowed to field a Precedential candidate until that loan is paid by the country. proposal to amendment to our constitution.

  8. Northwest University is doing fine. For some of us who are at a University in Lusaka and staying in Kabangwe, ZESCO power is a real struggle, that studying is a challenge. This problem has been there for over 10 years now. And I had expected Energy Regulation Board to have some surveillance over such things. Literally every other day there is no power here

    • @Juliet a positive school governing body would have introduced into the curriculum a course on alternative sources of power. Schools and universities are designed to tackle societal problems not to give useless papers to students


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