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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


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KovsieSport celebrates three varsity tournaments' titles
2015-04-21

Both staff and students celebrated the Shimlas, KovsieTennis, and KovsieNetball’s achievements.
Photos: Hannes Pieterse

 

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In this week of graduation ceremonies, the University of the Free State had more than its academic achievements to celebrate. The Shimlas’ brilliant triumph in the Varsity Cup as well as the achievements by KovsieTennis and Kovsie Netball was celebrated at a colourful event on the Bloemfontein Campus.

At the celebrations, which were well supported by the campus community, the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen, congratulated all three teams on their outstanding achievements. Not only did the Shimlas walk off with the Varsity Cup, they also won every game they played. AJ Coertzen, the Shimlas’ captain, said: “Although we were well prepared and physically fit, the fact that we played for one another contributed much to our success. As a team, we have grown from friends to brothers.”

KovsieTennis was congratulated on wearing the USSA tennis crown for the fourth consecutive year. In addition, they have the following triumphs to their name: 2007 – SASSU (South African Students Sports Union) (Ladies); 2008 – USSA (University Sport South Africa) (Ladies) and 2009 USSA (Men). Duke Munroe, captain of the KovsieTennis team took the opportunity to thank the team personnel. He believes that hard work behind the scenes by the coach, Marnus Kleinhans, and the team manager, Janine de Kock, contributed greatly to the team’s success.

KovsieNetball was also praised for their successes. In 2014, under the captaincy of Karla Mostert, they won gold at the Varsity Netball championships. They also won the National Premier League. The UFS is also proud of its netball players in various national teams: SA Under 19-23, the Protea groups, and the SA University team.

At the celebrations, Karla said: “The environment and the people you surround yourself with dictate how easily you achieve success. Our achievements and successes are evidence of the quality of the coaches, supporters, and facilities available to us.

After the event on the Red Square, the teams made an appearance in the Callie Human Centre, where they were enthusiastically congratulated by graduands, their families and the university management. Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the UFS, also praised the teams for their achievements. “You are a team without individual stars. That is the sort of team I want to be part of.”

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