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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

Intravarsity starts with a rhythm!
2012-05-04

 

Students on our Bloemfontein Campus took part in a flashmob at the start of Intravarsity.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
4 May 2012

Photo Gallery
Programme (pdf format)

It is Kovsie against Kovsie today and Saturday, 4 and 5 May 2012, with students from our Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses competing against each other during Intravarsity.

The inter-campus competition replaces the Intervarsity 2012 programme and will be held on the Bloemfontein Campus. The annual Intervarsity between the Universities of the Free State and North-West (NWU), which traditionally takes place in the third term, has been postponed to 2013.

Students from the two campuses will compete in sports activities like basketball, cross country, netball and soccer. Arts and culture, and leadership events between the two campuses are also planned.

The action started at 14:00 today. At 15:30, residence soccer teams take to the field and later, at 18:40, there is a debating competition.

Saturday’s activities include a leadership breakfast for student leaders and a Wheelchair Rally that takes place in the Kovsie Student Church parking area. The big sporting event for the day is the men and ladies soccer teams from the two campuses taking each other on. The programme concludes with an Intravarsity Music festival starting at 18:30 and continuing until 24:00.

Friday 4 May 2012 has been scheduled as a lecture-free day and Monday 7 May 2012 as a test-free day.

 

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