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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

Springboks choose Kovsies' sports facilities
2010-09-02

The Springbok team boasts five former Kovsies. From the left, front, are: Flip van der Merwe, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, and Gurthro Steenkamp. At the back, from the left, are: Jannie du Plessis, C.J. van der Linde and Juan Smith.
Photo: Gerhard Louw

Over the years the University of the Free State (UFS) has already produced 67 Springbok and 22 Springbok Sevens players. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Springboks have chosen the UFS’s sports facilities in preparation for their match against Australia this coming Saturday. They will tackle Australia at the Free State Vodacom Park at 17:00. Five former Kovsies are included in this team. They are Flip van der Merwe, Gurthro Steenkamp, Jannie du Plessis, C.J. van der Linde and Juan Smith.

Kovsies have been providing quality rugby for many decades already. During the 2009 rugby season the UFS rugby club produced 12 players for national teams and 73 players for provincial teams (all age groups). This does not include all the former Kovsies. According to Mr Rockey le Roux from KovsieSport at the UFS, there is currently not one South African Super 14 team that does not include a Kovsie or former Kovsie.

The UFS is also equipped to produce top rugby players. Shimla Park is the main field of Shimla rugby, where all the Shimla games are played. Some of the Varsity Cup games are also played on this field. Boom Prinsloo, the Shimla player named as the 2010 player of the Varsity Cup tournament, is included in the current Springbok Sevens practice team. Shimla Park boasts 1 000-lux lights, which let this field comply with international standards.

There are four more rugby fields that are used for residence rugby. Currently 26 rugby teams of the university's residences and three provincial teams practise on the fields.

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