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
4 August 2008

Paranoia stalks the land….

The writer William Burrows famously remarked: “Just because you’re paranoid, does not mean they are not out to get you.” Maybe this remark should be rephrased for ANC leaders and we should remind them that just because THEY are paranoid does not mean the judiciary is out to get them.

Because the recent utterances of some ANC “leaders” around Jacob Zuma’s trial is taking on all the hallmarks of a really pathological paranoia. Maybe these people are in need of psychological counseling to help them deal with their paranoia, which seems to be made worse by an absolute denial of reality. I suspect people have been locked up in Valkenberg for less.

So another day, another delusional utterance from ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe. This time about the speech made by Chief Justice Pius Langa in Durban on Friday. The Chief Justice made comments that should be entirely uncontroversial for anyone with even a modicum of understanding of democracy and the Rule of Law.

The judiciary is under attack from various quarters. Like all institutions, the judiciary must accept criticism from the public and the media. But such criticism must not be allowed to degenerate into undermining and weakening the judiciary. That is why we should rebuke attempts from some quarters aimed at weakening the judiciary and therefore the rule of law.

If the judiciary is weakened it will not be the only victim. The rule of law will erode, and the other public institutions that guarantee our constitutional rights will be left unprotected.He told Business Day last night that the ANC was concerned about the “apparent mobilisation” of the judiciary and the implications for today’s proceedings.

But much like the National Party of the apartheid years who saw a Communist under every bush and behind every person who disagreed with them, Mr Mantashe saw this speech as another sign of the Dark Lord Sauron plotting against noble Frodo (a.k.a. Jacob Zuma). These days the dark forces are everywhere – especially in the judiciary who has the bloody cheek to believe in the Rule of Law and equal justice for all, so Comrade Mantashe is ever vigilant:

The timing of the lecture where Chief Justice Pius Langa spoke, which was attended by Judge Chris Nicholson (the presiding judge in the Zuma application) and his two assessors, coupled with the timing of the ruling of the Constitutional Court (on Thursday) and the apparent mobilisation of the judiciary, is worrying for us,” Mantashe said.

And then there is SACP KwaZulu-Natal secretary Themba Mthembu who said, “It is not merely coincidence that this lecture was held on the eve of the trial. What was Pius Langa coming to do — give instructions through a lecture?”

Maybe the instructions were in code – only to be deciphered by counter-revolutionary forces? Come on people, it really looks as if ANC leaders will pounce on the most ridiculous and innocuous “evidence” to try and bolster their attack against the judiciary and to further their paranoid fantasies. Now they even point to the innocuous words of the Chief Justice, who merely defended the Constitution as he is obliged to do, and suggests it is – gasp! – part of the conspiracy.

There is of course a reason for all this madness. Under no circumstances do supporters of Jacob Zuma (or Mr Zuma himself) want him to have his day in court in a fair trial. They do not want a fair trial before an impartial court, because during such a trial Mr Zuma will have to answer several difficult questions. Why did he lie to Parliament about meeting with Thint representatives? Why did he take R4 million from Schabir Shaik? Why did he do favours for Shaik after taking the money? Why did he lie to Parliament that the money from Shaik were loans? Why have his lawyers tried every trick in the book to prevent evidence from being tendered in his trial? Why have his lawyers tried everything to ensure the trial does not commence?

Yes, in front of an impartial judge not cowered into a blubbering mass by threats of ANC thugs, Mr Zuma will be exposed as a dishonest and shady man who repeatedly lied to save his bacon. Even if he is not convicted on the fraud and corruption charges, he will be exposed as a man not worthy of the Presidency. But this lot needs him to become President because lucrative contracts and position beckons. Who cares about integrity and principles and the independence of the judiciary if money is involved?

I am sickened to the very core by these opportunistic attacks on people like Chief Justice Langa, who (unlike Mantashe or Zuma) is a deeply principled and honest man. It is when the rulers start to vilify the good people, the honest people, the people with principles, in society that one knows they have lost the moral high ground and the moral authority that would earn our respect.

Somebody in the ANC please help us. Stand up for what is right and repudiate these scandalous attacks on the judiciary. Face up to the fact that Mr Zuma has a legal case to answer and deal with it. Stand up for what is right. Surely there are still some good people left in the ANC who would have the guts to do this? Surely?

SHARE:     
BACK TO TOP
2015 Constitutionally Speaking | website created by Idea in a Forest