n Journal of Public Administration - Towards a review of South Africa's research on corruption in the public sector, 1994 to 2009 : trends, gaps and implications for public policy

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The article provides a snapshot examination of what it considers to be 'standard' research on corruption conducted by researchers in South African research institutions. These include the Institute for Security Studies, Public Service Accountability Monitor, Human Sciences Research Council and the University of the Witwatersrand. The article argues that, generally, the studies on corruption in South Africa are short-term, lack a longitudinal research perspective, often fragmented initiative of various institutions, donor driven and do not take full advantage of multi-disciplinarity and institutional collaborations. Hence the conceptualisations of corruption in existing research are inadequate. The normative, legalistic and moralistic premise of the state's definition of corruption is not problematised but is assumed, to be the national understanding of corruption. The article also argues that existing research fails to examine corruption in all its historical complexity and detail in order to expose how various forms of corruption evolved over time. This is important in order to widen the knowledge base and insights of public policy. The lack of innovation in how researchers feed their findings into local and national policy arenas is also highlighted. The articles emphasises the case for better co-ordination of research initiatives and orientation towards long-term research projects, as well as innovative research dissemination strategies to better inform public policy.

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