Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
7 July 2011

CASAC statement on Public Protector

06 July 2011

CASAC STATEMENT ON STORY OF IMMINENT ARREST OF PUBLIC PROTECTOR

CASAC is deeply disturbed at news of the possible imminent arrest of the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. This threat demands an urgent response from all right-thinking South Africans.

The timing suggests an attempt is being made to intimidate the Public Protector, as she prepares to release her new report on the SAPS leases in Durban, following as it does the unlawful raid on her offices in March 2011.

The Public Protector is one of a number of institutions established under Chapter Nine of the Constitution to support democracy. The Public Protector’s task is to fight corruption and maladministration in the public service. We need a strong, independent Public Protector if we are to combat corruption and improve public service delivery.

Thus, if the Public Protector is arrested it will be a dark day in South Africa’s young democracy.

While no-one is above the law and the allegations against Advocate Madonsela’s will need to proceed through the usual criminal justice process, the onus will be on the prosecuting authorities, including the police, to demonstrate that her prosecution was in the public interest and had nothing to do with her investigation into the probity of the SAPS in the procurement of accommodation in Pretoria and Durban.

We call upon all South Africans, who care about the rule of law and the Chapter Nine institutions, to join together in defence of the Public Protector. Sipho Pityana, Chairperson of CASAC says that “it is disconcerting that ordinary South Africans have to stand up to protect an institution that is in fact designed to protect us.”

In view of the critical role that the office of the Public Protector plays in our constitutional framework, CASAC also calls on President Zuma to clarify the nature of the investigation against Adv Madonsela, if any, and to assure the nation that the work of the Public Protector will not be compromised.

Enquiries:

Lawson Naidoo – 073 158 5736

Masutane Modjadji – 076 937 0825

 

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