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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 Music rises to academic prominence
2007-10-18

 

From the left are: Ronella Jansen van Rensburg, Hanna van Schalkwyk, Elene Coetzer en Lizabé Lambrechts

Four postgraduate students gave prominence to the Music Department of the University of the Free State by having four academic articles published by accredited journals, and a fifth published in an international online journal.

It is the first time that a tertiary music institution in South Africa has had so many postgraduate studies published in one year, says Prof Martina Viljoen.

The students who worked under Prof Viljoen's supervision are Hanna van Schalkwyk, senior lecturer in singing at UFS; Ronella Jansen van Rensburg, part-time music lecturer and founder of the Sentraal-Kultuurakademie (Central Culture Academy); Elene Coetzer, also a part-time lecturer and involved in the Mangaung String Project; and Lizabé Lambrechts, who is still studying full-time.

Hanna and Ronella attained their master's degrees and Lizabé honours.

Hanna's research on the unique and at times unorthodox philosophy in singing and method of the pedagogue in singing Sarie Lamprecht (1923-2005) is published in the Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe (Journal for the Humanities).

The study documents interviews held with Lamprecht over more than two years as well as conversations with her most prominent students.

Ronella's study on the relationship between emotional intelligence and musical performance anxiety is divided into two successive articles in the journal Musicus.

Dr Adelene Grobler, Epog director at UFS, was Ronella's co-supervisor.

Elene conducted a qualitative investigation into the Mangaung String Programme in which the social value of this teaching programme is emphasised.

She documented the responses of learners, parents and teachers who are involved in the project. Her article is published in the Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa.

Lizebé reached out to pop culture for her research and wrote about no less a person than the controversial shock-rock-icon Marilyn Manson.

Her study serves as a model analysis for educational work that focuses on popular culture as a didactic instrument.

In this respect Manson's music, which is frequently slated as vulgar or disturbing, is shown as aggressive social comment.

Lizabé's article, which throws light on Manson's bisexual identity, was published as a full-length monograph in the first edition of the overseas online noncejournal.

In 2005 the Department of Music also excelled when it was the first academic music institution in South Africa that published international congress proceedings as a subsidised collection.

The collection contained eminent international authors and was published under the guest editorship of Viljoen.

Die Volksblad – 1.10.07

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