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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

Regional Conference on Trafficking in Human Beings
2007-06-29

Trafficking in Human Beings:
National and International Perspectives

Date: 17th August 2007
Address: CR Swart Auditorium, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Every year thousands of children and adults become victims of trafficking and abuse in South Africa and throughout the southern African region. Victims are trafficked for a myriad of reasons: sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography; illegal labour, including child conscription; domestic servitude; illegal adoptions; body parts/organs; and forced marriages.

The Unit for Children’s Rights, Department of Criminal and Medical Law, University of the Free State (UFS), together with the Centre for Continuing Legal Education at UFS, will host a Regional Conference on Trafficking in Human Beings. The conference will bring together key role-players from the South African government as well as crucial international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the region.

Trafficking in human beings, especially women and children, is a serious violation of the human rights of the victims, as well as an extremely profitable source of income to organized crime, and needs the attention and intervention of both governmental and non-governmental institutions in South Africa.

Speakers will include representatives from the United National Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African Law Reform Commission, the Unit for Children’s Rights-UFS, and NGOs Molo Songololo and Terre Des Homes, that work with child trafficking victims in South Africa and around the world.

The media are invited to report on the conference, and interview speakers and presenters Attached find programme. For more info contact the following persons.

1. Beatri Kruger - 051 401 2108 / email: krugerh.rd@mail.ufs.ac.za  
2. Susan Kreston - 051 401 9562 / email: krestons.rd@mail.ufs.ac.za  
3. Elizabeth Snyman – 051 401 2268 / email: snymane.rd@mail.ufs.ac.za  

Programme

Trafficking in human beings:
National & international perspectives


Presented by The Unit for Children’s Rights, Department Of Criminal & Medical Law , Faculty of Law, in Conjunction with The Centre for Continuing Legal Education, University of the Free State.

Funded through the Generosity of the United States Department of State

17 AUGUST, 2007 – CR SWART AUDITORIAM

8:00-8:30 Registration & Tea
8:30-8:45 Opening & Welcome
Prof. JJ Henning, Faculty of Law
8:45-9:40 Overview & Global Perspective
Prof. Susan Kreston - Unit for Children’s Rights, Faculty of Law-UFS

9:40-10:00 TEA

10:00-10:45 International Perspectives & the Role of Organized Crime in Trafficking
Wiesje Zikkenheiner, Associate Expert
United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, Pretoria
10:45-11:45 Identifying and Assisting Victims of Trafficking
Marija Nikolovska, Project Officer
International Organization for Migration, Pretoria

11:45-12:30 LUNCH

12:30-1:15 Prosecuting Trafficking Without Trafficking Laws
Adv. Nolwandle Qaba, Sexual Offences & Community Affairs Unit
National Prosecuting Authority, Pretoria
1:15-2:15 Recommendations for New Legislation in South Africa
Lowesa Stuurman - South African Law Reform Commission, Pretoria

2:15-2:30 TEA

2:30-2:50 The Role of Terre Des Homes in Fighting Trafficking in Children
Judith Mthombeni– Terre Des Homes, Pretoria
2:50-3:50 Trafficking in Children in South Africa – A Front Line Perspective
Patrick Solomon - Molo Songololo, Cape Town
3:50-4:00 Closing Remarks
Adv. Beatri Kruger
Department of Criminal & Medical Law - UFS

 

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