Corruption is a constant global phenomenon, which is becoming more complex and intense as competition for resources increases. It is even more so amongst those living in developing countries, particularly emerging economies such as South Africa. Acts of corruption directly contest the basic principles of South Africa's Constitution, which aims at establishing freedom and security for everyone and a democracy 'for the people, by the people'. The aim of this article is to determine whether South African public education is safe from the corruption 'bogey', where reflection is made on professional public school management, which is the responsibility of school principals. Our objectives include designing an education-specific definition of corruption to advance accountable and transparent leadership; establishing the degree to which corruption has infiltrated the public education sphere; and making recommendations to fight corruption in public schools at professional public school management level. Among other findings, we found that even though some principals actively advocate upholding high morals, their conduct proves differently.