Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
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

“I, too, am an African,” says visiting US drama professor
2013-03-06

 
Africans are of blood and of soil, says Prof Charles Dumas in his inaugural lecture at the UFS. Speaking on the topic I, too, am an African, Prof Dumas reminisced about his life and experiences on the continent.
Photo: Minette Grove
05 March 2013

Lecture (pdf)

What is an African? Is it those born in Africa, defined in racial and genealogical terms, or those who identifies with the continent in nationality and ancestral location? Did the descendants of enslaved Africans in the US, the Caribbean or Brazil lose their Africaness when their ancestors were put on slave ships to the New World?

These were some of the questions raised by Prof Charles Dumas, visiting senior professor in the Department Drama and Theatre Arts, in his inaugural lecture at the university.

Proclaiming attachment to the continent, Prof Dumas told his audience there are two types of Africans: Africans of the blood and Africans of the soil. In a speech titled, “I, too, am an African,” he stated that he lay claim to his ancestral birthright not because of blood relationship to an identifiable ethnic group or birthright to the continent, but because he earned it.

“I suggest another way that one can be an African, is through trial and struggle to be reborn an African in spirit. It is a ritual journey that may be taken by anyone. For, after all, if we are to believe the anthropologists who tell us that human life as we know it began in the Olduvai Gorge, genetically we are all African in origin.”

Prof Dumas, a senior professor at Penn State University in the USA, took the audience on a journey of his experiences on the continent, starting in 1978 when he first came to South Africa as a legal observer. Noticing the changes between Apartheid and today’s South Africa, he said this generation are committed to learn from each other – and that is the most important, he said.

“With their hopes and aspirations they earnestly desire to live in the new South Africa that we promised them. We must support them in their effort. It is time we stored our old baggage in the closet.”

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept