Peril in perspective

Peril in perspective

Many of us who are academic researchers mutter and grumble about the increasing perils of our occupation, the lack of social distancing in most research contexts, worries about money problems that many face, pressure to perform in publications and bringing in research funding and so on. But let’s get things in perspective!

While there is widespread recognition of endemic corruption around procurement and contracts in South Africa, the strong tendency has been to see this as a problem in local and province level authorities as well as in private businesses. But clearly it is a much wider problem, and news has surfaced concerning murders and attempted murders of an assassination kind in an academic context, most recently reaching the public domain in respect of the University of Fort Hare. University World News has been a useful source of information about this, as is Jonathan Jansen’s very recent book Corrupted, on corruption in the South African university system. As with such things more widely, and has been discussed in other WWW blogs, this has been attached to procurement and contracts in respect of such things as buildings, gardening, transportation and so on. The murders have been reprisals against people who have been seen to be active in bringing such things to public attention and change. And as with such things elsewhere, there has been so-called ‘collateral damage‘, in the form of bystanders and people only indirectly related being killed as part of the reprisals. Time for solidarity with the South African colleagues who are attempting to address the situation.


Last updated: 13 January 2023