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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 awarded R3,6-million to train court interpreters
2008-05-15

 
 At the training session for court interpreters that took place on the Main Campus of the UFS in Bloemfontein recently are, from the left, front: Ms Zandile Mtolo, Pietermaritzburg, Ms Lindiwe Gamede, Bethlehem; back: Mr Sipho Majombozi, Port Shepstone, Prof. Lotriet, and Mr Mzi Nombewu, Upington. The four learners are working at their respective magistrates courts.
Photo: Lacea Loader

UFS awarded R3,6-million to train court interpreters

A contract to the value of R3,6-million has been awarded to the University of the Free State (UFS) to train court interpreters throughout South Africa.

The contract was awarded to the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice at the UFS by the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority (SASSETA).

“We are the only tertiary institution in the country that offers a national diploma in court interpreting. It provides a unique opportunity to court interpreters to be trained by a group of eight lecturers who are experts in the field,” says Prof. Annelie Lotriet, associate professor at the Department of Afro-asiatic Studies, Sign Language and Language Practice.

Prof. Lotriet is an internationally renowned interpreting expert who was also responsible for the training of interpreters for the former Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

According to Prof. Lotriet no co-ordinated training programmes for court interpreters existed and there was also no control over the training processes. The programme, initiated by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, is managed by the SASSETA. “It is the first time that the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development initiates such an extensive training programme for court interpreters,” says Prof. Lotriet.

The group of 100 court interpreters on the programme are from all over the country. Of the group, ten are unemployed learners who interpret for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on an ad-hoc basis.

The programme, which stretches over two years, comprises of theoretical and service training. Contact sessions take place in Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Cape Town, four times a year for two weeks at a time. The second contact session for Bloemfontein was recently completed.

“Learners are nominated by their regional offices. The programme consists of interpreting theory, interpreting practice and basic law subjects. The training material is developed and written by the SASSETA and facilitated and presented by the UFS. The learners interpret in all the 11 languages. Some of them can speak a couple of languages each,” says Prof. Lotriet.

“Everything is going very well with the programme and we are receiving a lot of positive feedback from the learners. This first group is an experiment and it depends on their success whether the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development will expand the programme,” says Prof. Lotriet.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za
15 May 2008 
 

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