Corruption affects the poorest of the poorMonday, 01/10/2012 - 17:07
Last Wednesday, Corruption Watch and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) joined forces to raise awareness around corruption. A panel discussion centred on the topic “What can you do to fight corruption” was held at the university’s theatre where students were encouraged to sign the anti-corruption pledge.
UJ SRC Deputy President Jack Malope called on students to join the fight against corruption.
Read the full speech below:
Vice chancellor- Prof Ihron Rensburg
President of the UJSRC - Mr Isaac Moagi
Deputy vice chancellor: research & innovation – Prof Adam Habib
Criminal justice and forensic investigations- Prof Dawie De Villiers
Executive Director: Corruption Watch- Mr David Lewis
MEC members and University Staff present
Student representative council members
House commitee members present
Socities leadership present
Students of the University of Johannesburg
I greet you all. It is an honour to be standing before you today.
Prof De Villiers, today I learnt that I'm guilty. I used to steal sugar from the cupboard when I was young. I used to pay off my sister so that she doesn't tell my mom I have a girlfriend. I used to give away insider information to guys that fancied my sister. I guess that's insider trading. All this I left behind because of the 'stick' my mother used. The bigger the act the bigger the stick.
I wanted to become what Prof Habib referred to as a“Tenderpreneur”, which is a term normally associated with political leaders that have business interests or business people with political connections, who utilise their connections to unfairly and unscrupulously gain access to public funds which they then use to line their own pockets.
Many young people today aspire to follow in this path because corruption of this nature has become a norm, and this cannot be accepted any longer. As students and members of society we must encourage one another to not accept any shortcuts in life. We must encourage each other to rather work hard for our success, prominence and riches. There is no quick route except through hard work.
It is the poorest of the poor that suffer the most from corruption because we are the ones that receive low quality housing, low quality medical care and a low quality education. Corruption has no mercy. It has the potential to destroy the lives of innocent youth who only want access to books so that they can pursue their dreams.
More importantly it can destroy the development of an entire community especially if that community’s progress depends on the youth. When you as an individual take something that does not belong to you whether you use it for the benefit of others or for the benefit of your family or yourself, somebody else loses out and that it is wrong.
As students of the University of Johannesburg we have all, in our own little way, experienced corruption. It may be related to that one night when you went out with your friends for a couple of drinks and you were stopped by police. You had to handover something called 'tjo tjo' or 'cold drink', so that they can let you go.
On a more serious note, the time you received a poor quality house from the government because the contractor had undercut the costs of building to line his own pockets, or when a public official at home affairs asked you to give him or her something to speed up the process to get your ID, passport or study permit. We cannot accept this any longer.
One day we will all leave this university to go work in the private, public sector or in civil society and we must take with us an attitude of no to shortcuts. We must say no to lining our own pockets at the expense of others. We must say no to corruption.
Let us commit ourselves as young people to a culture that frowns upon corruption and condemns it wherever it may appear. Let us adopt a culture of reporting corruption particularly where our people are suffering as a result of it. But just know there is no “Madea’s Witness Protection”.
It begins with each and every one of us. It’s not too late. Sign the pledge and commit to a better society that will be free from this disease called corruption.
It begins with you, me and all of us together. Resist the temptation.