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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

Free State Forum For Women
2007-06-26

The School of Medicine at the University of the Free State (UFS) presents:

Free State Forum For Women

Doctor, Help! My water is leaking. What do I do now?
Urine incontinence, the Social Dilemma of the Ageing Woman.

The first in a series of talks aimed at knowledge empowerment of the women in our society:

Date: Saturday, 21 July 2007
Time: 08:30 for 09:00 until about 11:00
Venue: Capstone Building, Boerneef Street, Langenhoven Park (opposite the Boeremark)

The programme will comprise of among others:

  • Narratives on emotional experiences, self-esteem, social interaction and physical discomfort associated with urine incontinence;
  • Explanation of the structure and functions of the pelvic floor, and why this happens with the modern woman;
  • Exercises to do at your own time; and
  • Medical and surgical treatment.

    The presenters are Dr Lizeth Roets from the UFS School of Nursing, Dr Daleen Raubenheimer from the Department of Human Anatomy, Ms Berna De Kock from the Department of Human Movement Sciences and Prof. Hennie Cronjé from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.


Admission: R40,00 payable on entrance (this includes tea and refreshments). Men are welcome to attend.

Bookings can be made before/on 18 July 2007 with Annette 083 269 3105 or Salmie at 051 405 3555.

Talks will be presented quarterly on topics such as allergy in children, nutrition for babies, overweight and obesity, pregnancy in teenagers, breast cancer, burns, high blood pressure and stroke.
 

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