South Africans that are willing to commit corrupt acts are also against corruption in society, the findings of a survey released by TNS Research Surveys indicated.
Ninety percent of South Africans said they felt corruption had become a way of life in South Africa, and 85% believed there was corruption in senior levels of government.
Ninety percent of adults in metro areas also said corruption should be eliminated.
However one in five adults said they were happy to buy pirated DVDs and CDS and a quarter knew people who had bought stolen goods.
Four out of 10 said they would keep the money if a cashier or teller gave them R50 too much.
One third of drivers in metro areas said they had driven a vehicle in the last six months knowingly having had more alcohol than they should have.
One fifth of metro adults felt that it was quite acceptable to refuse people admission to places, meetings or events because of their race.
Only 29% believed that refugees from Zimbabwe should be allowed to stay and only 65% believed that legal black immigrants should be allowed to stay.
"This suggests a level of disregard for the law and for the basic human rights and human dignity of others that is alarming," said director of Innovation and development at TNS research surveys Neil Higgs.
Crime levels not dropping: SA perception Eighty four percent of the people interviewed did not believe crime levels were dropping.
The results all came from a series of studies of 2 000 adults in seven major metropolitan areas over the past year or so. Higgs said while people felt crime levels were not dropping, they themselves were complicit in committing crimes like buying pirated goods, taking money that did not belong to them or not reporting the possession of stolen property.
"Corruption is felt to be endemic and should be stopped. Yet the morality of many of those who feel this is questionable." He also said the attitudes of many people towards their fellow human beings was highly questionable.
"Refugees are not at all welcome by the majority and even people from other countries here legally are not tolerated by a third of metropolitan adults."
Higgs said while it was a minority of people with questionable morality, the figures should still be seen with concern. "They suggest a very volatile society where, for very many people, there is no concern for the law, for the rights or welfare of others, where only 'I matter'".
Attitude linked to the apartheid past Higgs said some of this attitude might be linked to the apartheid past "when getting around the 'system', however it was perceived, was laudable".
He also said the vast inequalities in the country impacted on people.
"Fear of additional competition and the need just to survive are understandable drivers of a 'me first' syndrome that says that 'I do not need to bother with the rules, they are for other people'".
He said frustration with the slow pace of service delivery was another factor that could come into play.