Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

Wrongful suffering must be compensated, Prof Johann Neethling argues
2016-04-20

Description: Prof Johan Neethling, wrongful suffering must be compensated Tags: Prof Johan Neethling, wrongful suffering must be compensated

From the left are Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Caroline Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Neethling, Prof Rita-Marie Jansen, Vice-Dean, and Dr Brand Claassen, Head of the Department of Private Law.
Photos: Stephen Collett

On 11 April, the Faculty of Law held the first of the year’s series of Prestige Lectures presented by Prof Johann Neethling, Senior Professor in the Department of Private Law.  The event was attended by senior faculty members, the Dean of Law Prof, Caroline Nicholson, and the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen.

In his opening remarks, Prof Jansen said “Prestige lectures are at the heart of a university’s academic endeavour. It would serve the university community well to present them more often, as they go to the heart of important issues that affect society”

Prof Neethling made a compelling case for compensation for wrongful suffering by a child born with impairments. Since the mid-1960s, the actions of wrongful conception and wrongful birth have been recognised in South African law. Wrongful conception is defined as when a healthy child is born as a result of failed sterilisation or abortion, and wrongful birth is when a doctor fails to inform parents of a disability before the birth of their child.

“The reality is that a child born with impairments may indeed suffer (sometimes extreme) pain, loss of amenities of life, which would justify an award of damages,” he said.

So far, the action for wrongful suffering has been dismissed by the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal. However, he highlighted several cases where wrongful conception and wrongful birth was recognised by the courts.

“Why can the same approach (for wrongful conception and wrongful birth) not be followed in wrongful suffering claims by accepting that a disabled child seeks to address the consequences of its birth?” he asked.

Prof Neethling is regarded as one of the greatest minds in Private Law, not only in South Africa but in the African continent.

A festschrift, Essays in Honour of Johann Neethling (2015), with contributions from more than 50 of his peers around the world, was also launched at the lecture.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept