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
13 November 2006

Cosatu, Squires and the SCA

The five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal must feel rather embarrased this morning after Judge Hilary Squires informed us all that he never said that there was a generally corrupt relationship between Schabir Shaik and Jacob Zuma. But they would not be the first judges to make technical mistakes in a judgment and will definitely not be the last.

It is therefore absurd for Cosatu to call for the impeachment of the five judges involved. Nothing much turns on the use of this phrase and for the SCA judges to have used it, is at most a personal embarrasment for them.

Cosatu’s call is highly irresponsible. Because of the perceived short term political gain, they are castinga spersions on five judges of the highest court in non-constitutional matters. It is inevitable that their silly call will be beleived by some – especially Jacob Zuma supporters and this will undermine the legitimacy of the judiciary.

IT seems to suggest that Cosatu will do anything – even destroying the constitutional system – in order to get Zuma elected president. Once a principles and progressive organisation, they are becoming handmaidens of corruption.

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