A comparative analysis of corruption in South Africa and China: Evidence from the application of governance theory

  • Funeka Yazini April
  • Mokoko Sebola


Concerns about corruption in South Africa and China have intensified in recent years. Improved public administration, greater efficiency, transparency, and integrity in public institutions, are recognised as some of the emerging challenges for South Africa’s post-1994 transformation process, and China’s economic and social reforms. This paper conducts a comparative analysis of governance and corruption in South Africa and China with the aim of exploring common areas for mutual learning and avenues for improving anticorruption practices and institutions. The governance theory is employed in this study focusing on three key areas, namely government effectiveness, rule of law and control of corruption. The findings show that China enjoys a higher level of government efficiency and effectiveness than South Africa due to higher levels of capacity at the local government level in China. While the rule of law is more robust in China leading to arrests, prosecution and imprisonment of state officials, South Africa has  equally proven its capacity to abide by the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in recent high level cases. With  respect to corruption, South Africa enjoys a higher level of anticorruption advocacy than China; however, China is stronger at anticorruption enforcement, as depicted by the high level of arrests of public officials deemed to have engaged in corruption in China. The study concludes that public sector accountability in both countries can only succeed if institutions of state are  strengthened and the law is used to bring about social change and development.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-641X
print ISSN: 0256-2804