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15 December 2021
UWC law lecturer, Advocate Thulisile Njoko, receives funding for a three-year study on companies’ criminal liability and punishment
Advocate Thulisile Njoko, a law lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, has been awarded funding from the Black Academics Advancement Programme (BAAP) that will enable her to spend three years examining the criminal liability and punishment of companies for corruption. 

The BAAP was established by the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the FirstRand Foundation (FRF) to increase the proportion of suitably qualified Black African academic staff and academic staff with disabilities at South African public universities. It does this by supporting PhD and post-PhD candidates with their research and training.

BAAP therefore funds well-structured research projects that have achievable aims and are based on sound methodologies. Criteria for selection include a project proposal that passes an independent merit review, and the programme objectives and equity targets. The candidate has to be nominated by the university’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and only two BAAP awards are granted annually to each university that submits an application that meets the eligibility and merit review criteria.

Annually, funding covers running expenses of not more than R100 000, replacement costs of R200 000 to relieve the candidate of teaching responsibilities during the grant period, and international travel where applicable. 

“With the rapid growth in corruption related practices by companies in both public and private spheres, the issue that this project seeks to address is what would amount to appropriate punishment for a company, paying due regard to the current South African penal/sentencing system and the role companies play in the development of our economy,” said Advocate Njoko. The project will fully examine the criminal liability and prosecution of companies for corruption and related activities, with a particular focus on the appropriate sentencing practices to be employed.

Advocate Njoko said that as a lecturer and supervisor in the private law field, she also has to remain abreast of new developments in criminal justice, which is her main field of research. “The three years teaching relief that attaches to the programme may well result in greater progress for my research as I can dedicate my time accordingly. The programme is such that it will also enhance my research, as it funds both local and international conferences,” she said.

Advocate Njoko added that the BAAP funding will help her establish herself as a researcher and academic. She plans to use her three years for the completion of her doctoral study, which is considered a stepping stone to career advancing opportunities, and she further intends to publish her research outputs in accredited journals, which will contribute towards UWC’s scholarship.