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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


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UFS appoints Prof Francis Petersen as Vice-Chancellor and Rector
2016-12-02

Description: Prof Francis Petersen  Tags: Prof Francis Petersen  

Prof Francis Petersen

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) is pleased to announce that it has decided to appoint Prof Francis Petersen as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS.

Announcing the decision to appoint Prof Petersen today (Friday 2 December 2016) during the quarterly Council meeting on the Bloemfontein Campus, the Chairperson of the UFS Council, Judge Ian van der Merwe, said the university was fortunate to be able to appoint a candidate of such good quality to the position.

Prof Petersen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Institutional Innovation at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and Prof Lis Lange, Vice-Rector: Academic at the UFS, were in line for the position. The university’s Selection Committee expressed equal preference for both and the two candidates were therefore recommended to Council for the position.  
 
“It has been a truly participatory and transparent selection process, which has assisted in the Council being able to make this decision. The higher-education sector has been through a difficult and challenging time during the past few months and the Council is thankful that a leader like Prof Petersen can head the university in 2017 and beyond,” said Judge Van der Merwe.

In his statement of intent, which was submitted earlier as part of the application for the post, Prof Petersen indicated that it is important to imagine the UFS’s location in South Africa and Africa, to realise the challenges within this context, now and in the future, so as to sharpen the university’s focus to become a more inclusive, academic excellent institution, embedded in a culture of innovation. “Therefore, the ideal of academic excellence must be supported by an institutional framework of diversity and inclusivity. The Academic Project should focus on a unique educational experience for every UFS student, the enhancement of student throughput-rate in academic programmes through dedicated academic support, graduate attributes, and curriculum change and renewal,” he said. He furthermore stated that research and innovation must focus on impact and international visibility. “It is thus not only the increase in research and innovation output, but the quality and impact thereof.” 

Prof Petersen was previously the Dean of Engineering and the Built Environment at UCT. He brings to the position of Vice-Chancellor and Rector his extensive experience of management in both the industry and academic sectors. He has been the executive head of strategy at Anglo American Platinum and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Cape Technikon (now Cape Peninsula University of Technology). He is a member of the UCT Council, non-executive director on the Board of Pragma Holdings, non-executive director on the Board of the Unlimited Group, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Seedcap (Venture Capital) Trust. Among others, he previously served as member on the Board of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the National Advisory Council on Innovation, and the Council of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

He graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BEng (Chem Eng), MEng (Metal Eng), and PhD (Eng) degrees and completed a short course on Financial Skills for Executive Management. He is a recipient of the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Award for research excellence, and was visiting professor at the Cape Technikon and extraordinary professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University. He is a regular reviewer of journals, and member of a range of editorial boards for international journals.

Prof Petersen is also a registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa and a Fellow of both the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and the South African Academy of Engineers. 

Prof Petersen succeeds Prof Jonathan Jansen, who stepped down as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS on 31 August 2016. An international executive search agency specialising in academic appointments has assisted the UFS Council in its search for top-quality candidates.

 

Released by:

Lacea Loader (Director: Communication and Brand Management)
Telephone: +27 51 401 2584 | +27 83 645 2454
Email: news@ufs.ac.za | loaderl@ufs.ac.za
Fax: +27 51 444 6393

 


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