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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

More than 800 students graduate at the UFS
2010-09-14

The University of the Free State (UFS) will confer 881 degrees and diplomas during its Spring graduation and diploma ceremonies that will be held in the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus.

The various graduation ceremonies will take place on Wednesday, 15 and Thursday, 16 September 2010.

The UFS will award 566 degrees, 41 doctorates and 274 diplomas. Two honorary doctorates will also be conferred on Prof. Kalie Strydom and Dr Monty Jones.

For more than two decades Prof. Strydom has been associated with excellence in educational research, especially in the field of higher education. Dr Jones is the Executive Director of FARA (Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa). He is a Sierra Leonean and has spent the last 32 years of his career in Africa working in international agricultural research for development institutions.

The full programme is as follows:

  • Wednesday, 15 September 2010:

    -At 14:30 266 students from the Faculties of the Humanities, Health Sciences, Education, Law and Theology will receive their degrees and 20 doctorates will be conferred. On the same day Prof. Strydom will receive an honorary doctorate and Mrs Alida Maria Dippenaar a Chancellor’s Medal. She was during her career one of the pioneer senior female managers and a member of the Executive Management and the Senate at the UFS.
  • Thursday, 16 September 2010:

    - 08:30: 300 degrees and 21 doctorates will be awarded in the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Dr Jones will also receive an honorary doctorate on the same day.

- 14:30: 274 diplomas will be conferred on students from all faculties.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
14 September 2010

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