Foreign Policy Blogs

South African Budget Transparency

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.



Derek Catsam
Derek Catsam

Derek Catsam is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Derek writes about race and politics in the United States and Africa, sports, and terrorism. He is currently working on books on bus boycotts in the United States and South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s, the Freedom Rides, and South African resistance politics in the 1980s. He has lived, worked, and travelled extensively throughout southern Africa. He is also a lifelong sports fan, with the Boston Red Sox as his first true love. He was one of about three dozen people to write books about the 2004 World Champion Red Sox, and the result is Bleeding Red: A Red Sox Fan's Diary of the 2004 Season. He writes about politics, sports, travel, pop culture, and just about anything else that comes to mind.

Areas of Focus:
Africa; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Apartheid