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

Science and goodwill meet drought-stricken communities
2016-03-02

Description: Disinfecting tankered water  Tags: Disinfecting water

“Everyone should contribute to the delivery of clean water to every individual,” says UFS researcher.

The drought in South Africa has impacted the country in many ways. Apart from its economic and environmental implications, the drought also has social implications, leaving some communities without water.

Since 21 January 2016, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is working together with the Department of Microbial, Biochemical, and Food Biotechnology at the University of the Free State. Dr Mariana Erasmus, post-doctoral fellow in the department, was appointed to lead a project for disinfecting tankered water supplied by the DWS to communities without water in the Qwaqwa area - which falls under the Maluti-a-Phufung Local Municipality.

She is working on the project with Robbie Erasmus from BioSense Solutions and Martin Bambo from DWS. A total of 53 trucks, 91 tanks, and 420 500 litres of water was disinfected so far, using sodium hypochlorite. “This is standard practice around the world,” Dr Erasmus said.

The work done by the UFS and DWS, who is monitoring the water quality as well as the process of water delivery, is very important. Disinfecting the trucks used to deliver water to drought-stricken communities decreases the formation of biofilm inside the tanks. “The biofilm could contain harmful bacteria such as E-coli. It is important to note that this is mostly the result of secondary pollution, since the water quality from the source where it was taken from, proved to be good. Drinking water with this harmful bacteria that has not been properly managed, can lead to health issues in humans when consumed,” Dr Erasmus said.

The Department of Microbial, Biochemical, and Food Biotechnology, interacting with the DWS on several water-related issues, volunteered to get involved in the project. They strongly believe that everyone should contribute to the delivery of clean water to every individual.

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