There are certain narratives in South Africa that seem immune to change over time. Despite many indications that violent crime has been going down consistently over the last decade or more, South Africa is still tainted as a crime-infested country. Although AIDS rates have been dropping, for many South Africa still represents Sub-Saharan Africa’s AIDS crisis. Similarly, discussions about corruption in the government assume that it is endemic, that it is irredeemable, and that it is complete. And yet as this chart shows, when it comes to budgetary transparency, at least, South Africa has nice company with some of the Scandinavian countries and ranks above the United States and the other BRICS nations.
This is not, of course, to say that corruption (or crime, or AIDS) are not serious problems in South Africa. But it is to assert that these discussions should not remain static.