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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

UFS first to mechanise agricultural technique
2006-05-09

    

Small farmers from Thaba `Nchu were the biggest group attending the farmers day at the UFS Paradys experimental farm.  From the left are Mr David Motlhale (a small farmer from Thaba 'Nchu), Prof Leon van Rensburg (lecturer at the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and project leader), Mr Nhlonipho Nhlabatsi (Agricultural Research Council, Glen), Ms Meisie Mthethwa (small farmer from Bloemspruit).  In front is Mr Patrick Molatodi (chairperson of the Tswelopele Small Farmer Association).
 

 

Some of the participants of the farmers day at the UFS Paradys experimental farm were from the left Prof Leon van Rensburg (lecturer at the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and project leader, Mr Patrick Molatodi (chairperson of the Tswelopele Small Farmers Association) and Prof Herman van Schalkwyk (Dean: UFS Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences).

UFS first tertiary institution in world to mechanise agricultural technique
The University of the Free State (UFS) is the first tertiary institution in the world to mechanise the in-field rain water harvesting technique on a commercial scale.

The technique was recently demonstrated to about 100 small farmers at the UFS Paradys experimental farm outside Bloemfontein. 

“With this technique rain water is channeled to the plant and in this way food security is increased.  The advantage of the technique for commercial farmers lies in the reduced cultivation of land.  Small farmers will benefit from this because they can now move out into the fields and away from farming in their back yards,” says Prof Leon van Rensburg, lecturer at the UFS Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences and project leader.    

Rain water harvesting is an antique concept that was used by communities before the birth of Christ.  In South Africa the technique is mainly used in the plots of small farmers where they make surface structures by hand. 

"The technique is also used for the first time by the UFS on commercial scale by means of the cultivation of a summer crop on 100 ha at the Paradys experimental farm,” says Prof Leon van Rensburg,

Of the farmers who attended the farmers day most represented about 42 rural communities in the vicinity of Thaba ‘Nchu.  A group of seven from KwaZulu-Natal also attended the proceedings.  These small farmers can for example apply this technique successfully on the 250-300 ha communal land that is available in the Thaba ‘Nchu area. 

The project is funded by the UFS and the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the farmers’ day was funded by the Water Research Commission.   

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:   (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
9 May 2006

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