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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

UFS plans to improve undergraduate pass rate
2005-01-13

The University of the Free State (UFS) will introduce a new foundation programme this year 2005 in an effort to improve the academic performance of undergraduate students.

According to Mr Francois Marais, Head: Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CHESD) at the UFS, the programme will assist students by providing for the development of cognitive and critical thinking skills by means of the integration of appropriate thinking skills (such as creative thinking, decision-making, problem solving, reasoning, and how to learn), into the subject content of university courses.

“The foundation programme will benefit students from disadvantaged school backgrounds and, in future, those whose performance in proficiency tests points to the need for additional development in, for example, language proficiency, mathematical literacy, computer skills and life skills,” says Mr Marais.

Based on their level of achievement in the final Grade 12 examination (Senior Certificate), students will be referred to the foundation programme.

In order to improve students writing and reading abilities for higher education studies, foundation programme students will be offered academic language courses in English and Afrikaans.

Kovsie Counselling will render appropriate services, eg career guidance and support to these students.

The new foundation programme will be implemented in the faculties of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Economic and Management Science, the Humanities and Law.

The duration for this programme differs from faculty to faculty. In the Faculty of Law it will take five years, while in the faculties of the Humanities, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and Economic and Management Sciences it will take four years.

The national Department of Education will fund the foundation programme for three years. Funding for such programmes was made available to all higher education institutions in South Africa.

The welcoming function for all new first-year students and their parents will take place on Saturday 15 January 2005 at 11:00 in the Callie Human Centre on the main campus in Bloemfontein.

The registration of first-time entering first-year students who applied before 30 November 2004 to study at the Bloemfontein campus will take place from Monday 17 January 2005 to 21 January 2005 at the Callie Human Centre.

Senior undergraduate students (that is, students entering their second or later year of study) may register from 22 to 29 January 2005.

Postgraduate students, first time entering first year students and other students who applied for admission to the main campus after 30 November 2004 must register at the Callie Human from 31 January 2005 to 4 February 2005.

Due to the limitations placed by government on student numbers, the applications of students who applied late will be regarded as pending and will be processed as places become available.

    Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
13 January 2005

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