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13 October 2020 | Story Prof John Mubangizi | Photo Sonia du Toit
Prof John C Mubangizi is Dean: Faculty of Law, University of the Free State.

South Africans are sick and tired of corruption. They are angry, frustrated and despondent. And they have every reason to be. South Africa has many problems: crime, unemployment, poverty, gender-based violence, inequality, low economic growth and now – in common with many other countries – COVID-19. The list goes on and on. What makes corruption the biggest threat among all these is that it cuts across all of them and impacts on their gravity in different ways. 

The South African Constitution envisages a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights. The way things are going, that society is never likely to happen. That is because corruption has been, and continues to be, the greatest threat to any possibility of realising that constitutional dream. In South Africa, like everywhere else where corruption is rampant, it occurs both in the public and private sectors, where it affects democracy and human rights by deteriorating institutions and diminishing public trust in government. It impairs the ability of government to fulfil its obligations and ensure accountability in the delivery of economic and social services like healthcare, education, clean water, housing, and social security. This is because corruption diverts funds into private pockets – which impedes delivery of services – thereby perpetuating poverty, inequality, injustice and unfairness. The problem is aggravated when government is the main culprit. “Government” here, of course, refers to the dictionary meaning of the term, namely, “the group of people with the authority to govern a country or state”.

Corruption existed in ancient Egypt, China and Greece

There are those who argue that corruption is as old as mankind and, therefore, it is here to stay. Indeed, corruption is known to have existed in ancient Egypt, ancient China and ancient Greece. In Robert Bolt’s 16th Century play A Man for All Seasons, Richard Rich’s opening remark is “But every man has his price.” In the 1836 play The Government Inspector, Nikolai Gogol cleverly satirised the human greed, stupidity and extensive political corruption in Imperial Russia at the time. And in a recent article in The Conversation (28 August 2020), Steven Friedman wonders why South Africans express shock at corruption when “it is perhaps the country’s oldest tradition.” He locates the advent of corruption in South Africa at the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652, through to the ensuing colonialism and apartheid. He argues that in reality, “corruption has been a constant feature of South African political life for much of the past 350 years. It is deeply embedded and it will take a concerted effort, over years, not days, to defeat it”. 

Agreed, but does it have to be that way? At the time of Jan van Riebeeck and during the 350 years of colonialism and apartheid, we did not have the legal framework that we have now. Here is a brief overview of that framework.

Read full article here

Opinion article by Professor John C Mubangizi, Dean: Faculty of Law, University of the Free State


News Archive

BAccHons students achieve A+ rating in ITC exams
2017-09-07

Description: Accounting staff Tags: accounting, examinations, Thuthuka bursary, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Initial Test of Competence 

The lecturers of the 2016 BAccHons class: Liesel Botha,
Prof Alta Koekemoer, Prof Cobus Rossouw, Mr Kobus Swanepoel,
Dr Cornelie Crous, Prof Hentie van Wyk, and Mr Shaun Watson.
Photo: Supplied

 


The 2016 BAccHons students in the School of Accountancy at the University of the Free State achieved a 96% pass rate in the 2017 Initial Test of Competence (ITC) examinations of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). The ITC examinations took place in January and June, and of the 49 students that partook in the examinations, 47 passed.

Prof Hentie van Wyk, Programme Director of the School of Accountancy, said with these results, the School of Accountancy ranks among the top accountancy institutions in South Africa. “The UFS is one of 14 accredited universities offering the SAICA-accredited programme,” he said.

New teaching model a success

A new teaching and learning module, which was introduced by the School of Accountancy in 2013, seemed to have fuelled the success of the students, as it is now more learner-centred and introduced more structured support to students.  

The same strategies will be followed for the current 2017 intake. “We achieved an average pass rate of 84.8% over the past five years and if we can build on that, it will be an achievement of note,” says Prof Van Wyk. However, students should understand that much of these achievements are in their own hands.  “After leaving the UFS, they must continue with the preparations for the ITC examinations in order to guarantee their success. The ball is actually in the students’ court,” he said.

Of the African students, 91% were successful in the national examinations, while 100% of the Thuthuka bursary students passed. The average pass rate for the past five years is as follows:

2016     96%
2015     72%
2014     80%
2013     84%
2012     92%.

 

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