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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 brings Kovsie Campuses together
2012-05-09

 

Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses find each other in sport, arts and culture.

 

Intravarsity Photo Gallery
 

Intravarsity

Two campuses, one university, students coming together for a weekend filled with sport, arts and culture. That was the backdrop to Intravarsity 2012, which was held at the University of the Free State (UFS) on 4 and 5 May 2012.

Students from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses came together on the Main Campus to compete in soccer, netball, cross-country, basketball, debating and chess.

The Qwaqwa Campus raked up victories in soccer with their men’s and women’s teams beating their Bloemfontein counterparts. The women’s team won 3-2, while the men triumphed with 1-0.

Bloemfontein Campus beat Qwaqwa Campus 34-12 in netball, 2-0 in chess and 36-34 in basketball.

However, Intravarsity is not just about sport. Students from the two campuses also engaged in art, cultural and leadership events. These events included a musical festival with top local DJs and a leadership breakfast attended by the student leadership from both campuses.

Talking at the leadership breakfast, Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo, Head of the Centre for Africa Studies, urged student leaders to strive for selfless leadership. “We want our student leaders to be better leaders than we are. Perhaps at one moment some of you may end up leading this country. I hope when your time comes you will save South Africa from the democratisation of shamelessness and corruption, which has gained the upper hand.”

Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, told the student leaders that the institution was in crisis five years ago. “Today our campuses are together. I hope the significance of the weekend is not lost.”

Intravarsity 2012 replaced this year’s Intervarsity. The annual Intervarsity between the UFS and North-West University (NWU) has been postponed to 2013.
 

Kovsie student leaders discuss leadership at Intravarsity


Student leaders from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses attended a leadership breakfast during the Intravarsity weekend of 4 and 5 May 2012. The breakfast, held on the Main Campus, was hosted by the Division: Student Affairs.

Taking lessons in leadership from Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo, Head of the Centre for Africa Studies, the Kovsie student leaders discussed the duties and responsibilities of leadership, not only on our campuses but also throughout the country.
 
Highlighting the role of student leadership Prof. Kondlo told students they needed to be active partners in building a cohesive and united university.
 
“Student leadership is important in the life of any university; it creates conditions the university requires for the construction and production of knowledge. This is very important; hence cooperation between student leadership and management is so vital.”


Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo’s speech that he delivered at the leadership breakfast.
(pdf format)
 

 

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