Corruption in the public and private spheres and entities in both South Africa and
the rest of the world has generated much research and debate, eliciting many
perspectives, ideas and beliefs and resulting in a number of theories. Although there
is some disagreement about whether corruption threatens societies’ welfare, there
is some agreement on the fundamentals, regarding issues such as integrity, ethics
and the dichotomy between collective and individual corruption. There is also a
common thread on the direct connection between the political and administrative
aspects of the phenomenon.
Especially in the public sphere, the link between political and administrative
leadership has direct and indirect repercussions on all aspects of public management.
This implies that such relationships are an integral part of a process that, on many
occasions, leads to corruption.
A collaborative, cooperative and deeply moral relationship between political
and administrative leadership can act as a shield against corruption at all levels of
public administration. This can only occur when such a relationship is based on an
ethical foundation and integrity, and on solid knowledge management, innovative
and comprehensive initiatives and multi-dimensional initiatives.
This article focuses on key issues in South Africa’s public administration arena
and the sometimes antagonistic or colluding relationships amongst political and
administrative leaderships in the country in relation to corrupt practices and
their processes, presenting specific cases studies of relations and involvement in
corruption in municipalities as examples of the conundrum.