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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

Shimlas: Unbeaten Varsity Cup Champions!
2015-04-14

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    Photo: Johan Roux
    Spotlight Photo: Spektor Photography
    Photo gallery

The UFS Shimlas rugby team made history on Monday 13 April 2015 when they won their first ever Varsity Cup tournament, beating North-West University (NWU) Pukke 63-33 in the final.

Not only did Shimlas make history by winning their first-ever tournament title since the inaugural tournament in 2008, but they did not lose a single game in the 2015 Varsity Cup, thus claiming the cup in front of their home crowd at Shimla Park in Bloemfontein.

Shimlas outscored their traditional intervarsity rivals with nine tries to four. Pukke put the first points on the scoreboard with a penalty kick. The home side started off slowly in the first half. However, Shimlas’ lock, Johan van der Hoogt, did score the first try of the match followed by flyhalf and player that rocks, Niel Marais’s successful conversion kick. Yet, the men from the North-West retaliated full force for the greater part of the first half and, two tries later, had a 18-8 lead over the UFS team. 

Shortly after the first strategy break, Shimlas No.8, Niell Jordaan, crossed the try line following a driving maul, but the visitors received another penalty and succeeded with the kick at goal. The last ten minutes before half time saw Shimlas taking advantage, with the Pukke skipper being sent to the sin bin. Wing Maphutha Dolo hit a gap in NWU’s defense, and scored the try that put Shimlas in the lead again. Not long after, Marais sparked in making a play, offloading to flank Daniel Maartens to score a final try before half time, securing a 26-20 lead.

The second half had not been in play too long when the home side crossed the try line again, scoring their fifth try. Marais was again central in creating the play that saw Shimlas outside centre, Nico Lee, putting the points on the board.

NWU fought back again, scoring a pushover try from a scrum. But Shimlas would not give up the lead again, and a well-timed pass from Marais had Lee crossing the line for his second try.

More Shimlas tries piled up from Marais, Dolo, and Maartens, leaving the Potchefstroom side behind 63-25, giving them little opportunity to score again. One desperate consolation try by Pukke in the final seconds did manage to close the gap on the scoreboard, but it was not nearly enough to snatch the title from the hungry and undefeated Shimlas.

FNB Player that Rocks: Niel Marais
Shimlas point scorers:
Tries: Johan van der Hoogt, Niell Jordaan, Maphutha Dolo (2), Daniel Maartens (2), Nico Lee (2), Niel Marais
Conversions: Niel Marais (6)

 

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