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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

Two Kovsie women involved in international sports events
2012-05-14

 

Hetsie Veitch and Ebeth Grobbelaar
Photo: René-Jean van der Berg
14 May 2012

The organisers of two international sports events will depend on the expertise of two Kovsie women to make the events a major success.

The honour to be involved in international sports event has befallen Ms Hetsie Veitch and Ms Ebeth Grobbelaar.

The honour is the result of many years’ hard work and devotion in their respective fields.

In June, when the USA chooses the team to represent it at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, Ms Veitch will be one of the classifiers who will determine in which categories athletes may compete.

Ms Veitch, Head of the Unit for Students with Disabilities at the University of the Free State (UFS), has been invited to be a member of the Classification Panel at the final USA Paralympic athletics trials. The trials take place from 27 June to 1 July 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the USA.

Ms Veitch and four other classifiers, two from Brazil, one from Canada and one from the USA, will test and verify the international classification status of the American athletes. No athlete will be allowed to take part without their classification being verified by the panel.

Ms Veitch, who recently achieved the status of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics Classifier, the highest achievement for a classifier in sport for the disabled, said that this category of sport has always been her passion.

“To have the opportunity to be involved in the classification of the USA team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games is a huge honour. I am going to start working on being chosen for the official IPC classification panel for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil.”

Ms Grobbelaar, Assistant Director of the South African Testing Laboratory for Prohibited Substances at the UFS, was invited to be involved in the Drugs Control Centre in the unit against prohibited substances which will test sportsmen and women during this year’s Olympic Games in London.

Ms Grobbelaar said that even though the future of sportsmen and women would be in her hands, she is totally capable of carrying out the task that awaits her.

“I will be part of the laboratory team who will test the athletes’ samples for prohibited substances. I was part of the South African team who tested samples in our own laboratory in 2010 during the FIFA Soccer World Cup, as well as for the All Africa Games. The task is one I perform every day in our own laboratories. Each sample that I analyse determines an athlete’s future. The circumstances during the Olympic Games are different, but the work remains the same.”

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