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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

Three more Kovsie staff members involved in Olympic Games
2012-05-30

 

Dr Derik Coetzee
Photo: Supplied
30 May 2012

The South African men’s hockey team will practice on our Bloemfontein Campus from 28 May to 8 June 2012, and the team count on the assistance of three Kovsies to prepare them for the Olympic Games taking place in London later this year.  

Dr Derik Coetzee, senior lecturer in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science and Head of our High Performance Centre, has been appointed conditioning coach of the team. He will be assisted by Colleen Jones and Riaan Schoeman, also from this department.

The UFS team and Mr Gregg Clark, the team’s coach, will work out a periodisation programme for the team, which will continue until the hockey finals at the Olympic Games. The programme includes the correct exercises, volume, intensity and number of exercise sessions per week.

This is not the first time that Dr Coetzee has assisted sports teams to prepare for important events. In 2007, he was the conditioning coach of the Springbok rugby team that won the World Cup in France. He was also the conditioning coach of the under-21 Springbok team in 2002 that won the Junior World Cup Tournament. 

Dr Coetzee says it is a challenge to ensure that the team performs well at the Olympic Games. “The joy on the faces of the coach and players when they qualified in Japan cannot be described because many people thought they would not qualify.”

With the addition of Dr Coetzee, Ms Jones and Mr Schoeman, a total of six staff members from the UFS will be involved with the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. The other three are:

  • Dr Louis Holtzhausen, Head of the university’s Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, has been selected as team doctor for the more than 300 athletes that will represent South Africa at this year’s Olympic Games (in London).
  • Ms Ebeth 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 the games.
  • Ms Hetsie Veitch, Head of the Unit for Students with Disabilities, has been invited to be a member of the Classification Panel at the final USA Paralympic athletics trials.

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