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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 Centenary celebrations come to an end
2005-02-03

OFFICIAL OPENING

The official opening of the UFS will take place on Friday 04 February 2005 at 09:00 in the Reitz Hall (Centenary Complex). Please note that this is a test and lecture free day. The Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Frederick Fourie will be the keynote speaker. Refreshments will be served at the Centenary Complex after the opening ceremony.

The historic Centenary photograph will be taken at 11:00 on the eastern side of the Red Square (CR Swart parking area). All staff members and students are invited to be part of this massive photograph.

Important

• There will be no parking allowed on the CR Swart parking area until 12:00 on Friday 04 February 2005, as a result of the photo session.

• All academic staff members are requested to wear academic dress on the day, seeing as staff members will depict the Centenary emblem on the photograph. Academic gowns may be collected from the Gown Store on Wednesday 02 - Thursday 03 February 2005 between 08:00 and 16:00. Gowns must be returned to the Gown Store after the photograph has been taken.

SERVICE OF DEVOTION

A special service of devotion will take place on Sunday 06 February 2005 at 18:00 for 18:30 in front of the Main Building on the Red Square. This is a special gathering of students, hosted by all the interdenominational groups on the UFS campus. The evening will be a celebration of praise, thanks and worship, followed by a message from Dr Wollie Grobler. The evening will conclude with song and fireworks.

Staff members and students are welcome to bring their friends and families to this special event.

Important

• Even though there will be chairs in front of the Main Building, staff members and students are requested to bring extra pillows and blankets to sit on.

• No persons or vehicles will be allowed on the eastern side of the Red Square or on the CR Swart parking area, due to the security requirements of the fireworks show.

• All members of the choir are invited to be part of the mass choir. Lyrics will be provided.

• All persons who attend this event are requested to bring a candle for the purpose of the mass choir.

• Special transportation arrangements will be made for all service workers to enable them to attend the service. If there is someone in your faculty, department or division who would like to make use of this service, please send an e-mail to Elize Rall (ralle.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za) no later than Tuesday 01 February 2005.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

• A reunion for all former SRC members of the UFS will take place on the campus, from 04 February to 06 February 2005. An interesting programme is being planned. For more information, please contact Nicolaas du Plessis on 084 955 0875.

• The annual Rag Procession will take place on Saturday 05 February 2005. For more information, contact the Rag Office at X 2718.

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