Constitutional Hill

Siessa Patricia!

When Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, was criticised for the manner in which he became very rich (by breaking up companies and firing workers), for paying less than 15% in taxes (while the average rate in the US for a low to medium income earner is around 30%), and for sheltering from paying taxes by keeping money in the Cayman Islands and in a Swiss Bank account, he repeatedly said that such criticism was aimed at dividing America.

Lemme tell ya something. America is a great nation, because we’re a united nation and those who are trying to divide the nation as you’re trying to do here and as the president is doing are hurting this country, seriously. The right course for America is not to divide America, and try and divide us between one and another, it’s for us to come together as a nation. And if you’ve got a better model, if you think China is better, or Russia is better, or Cuba’s better, or North Korea’s better, I’m glad to hear all about it. But you know what? America’s right, and you’re wrong!

This argument is often used by the rich, who complain that the so called 99% of the US population (who are not stinking rich) may be stoking “class warfare”. It serves as a handy mechanism for stopping anyone from questioning the inequality, the unearned privileges bestowed on the rich, and the obscene unfairness of the US economic and social system and helps to protect the status quo.

I was therefore surprised when Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille (who used to have more progressive principles before she joined the Democratic Alliance), used this same kind of language to attack people who were planning to highlight unfairness and economic inequality in Cape Town by “occupying” the Rondebosch common (a piece of untidy, windswept grass and bushes in the middle of the leafy middle-class suburbs of Cape Town).

Last week, in a speech delivered by the mayor in the city council chambers, De Lille called the leader of the protest (a guy with the wonderful name of Mario Wanza) and his supporters “agents of destruction” and then continued:

There are those who would sooner see this city destroyed, driven in two by violence and aggression, than be a part of a shared destiny. I tell this council now, those agents of division will not win. I think here in particular of Mario Wanza, a would-be but failed public servant, who claims to speak on behalf of the people of the Cape Flats. … [I would not allow] these agents of destruction to use their misguided, naive and brutal misunderstandings of the politics of race to divide this city. … I tell the people of Cape Town this: They will not succeed because we will not let them.

Given these fighting words (with De Lille seemingly channelling her inner PW Botha), it was perhaps not surprising that the police refused to give permission for the gathering and declared the gathering “illegal”. The police did so on what appears to be spurious grounds, arguing that organisers arrived “between 15 and 30 minutes late” for their meeting with police officials and that organisers insisted on having all nine elected representatives present in the meeting as opposed to four.

These reasons are, to say the least, completely spurious, suggesting that the police had a mandate to stop this gathering at any cost. In fact this kind of reasoning has a rather authoritarian ring to it and seems to be based on the assumption that taking part in a protest is not a right, but a privilege that can be bestowed and can also be taken away by a police officer if an organiser of a gathering does not behave “properly”. This used to be the legal situation in apartheid South Africa, but as we now live in a constitutional democracy it is no longer the case. Somebody should tell the police (and mayor De Lille)

The Regulation of Gatherings Act makes it very clear that the responsible police officer has a duty to negotiate with organisers of a gathering and to do so in a way that would help the organisers to conduct a peaceful protest march or gathering. Where a police officer fails to do everything in his or her power to ensure that a peaceful and orderly gathering can take place, that police officer is breaking the law and is also infringing on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens.

Reading the various provisions of the Gatherings Act, it is impossible to see how the police could validly have declared this gathering illegal and how they could reasonably have believed that they had the right to do so. The relevant police officers either have difficulty with basic English comprehension or they deliberately decided to flout the provisions of the Regulation of Gatherings Act in order to get this gathering declared illegal (which happened to comply with the wishes of mayor De Lille).

One would have hoped that De Lille would have condemned this apparent abuse of power by the Police. After all, she is a leader of the DA, a political party who has often (rightly) expressed outrage when ANC-aligned government officials flout the law. The DA is also a party who has presented itself as a champion of the Rule of Law – even challenging the unlawful appointment of Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions in court. But alas, when the fears and short term interests of upper-middle class DA voters clash with respect for the law and adherence to democratic principles, one should not expect principle to hold sway. The mayor thus made statements which endorsed the dubious notion that this gathering was an “illegal” one.

The Regulation of Gatherings Act makes it clear that every person has the right to assemble with other persons and to express his or her views on any matter freely in public and to enjoy the protection of the State while doing so. As such, this Act gives expression to the right of everyone (guaranteed in section 17 of the Bill of Rights), peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.

This right is an important one for any democracy as it helps to even out the political playing field. Given the fact that access to money and a proximity to the powerful often give certain people or pressure groups disproportionate influence over the politicians and the political process, this right to protest can be viewed as a right that is of particular importance for the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed. How else will people living in poor and marginalised communities have their voices heard and their concerns listened to?

My guess is that the rather reactionary tone of De Lille’s statement and the heavy-handed and probably illegal actions of the police stem from the fear that a protest on the Rondebosch common would indeed provide a voice to the voiceless and would challenge the cosy elite pact between the politicians and the rich (the very rich whose donations keep the major political parties afloat).

Because the right to protest is fundamental to the proper functioning of a democracy, the Gatherings Act assumes that gatherings and protests will almost always be allowed and that technicalities will not be used to ban protests that would make the powers that be uncomfortable. Thus section 3(5)(c) of the Act even requires the relevant police officers to try and identify organisers of protests and gatherings and then engaging with those organisers – even if no notice was given of the protest or gathering by its organisers. Furthermore, section 4(1) places a legal duty on the responsible officer to engage with organisers of a gathering or protest to try and reach agreement about how the gathering or protest would be conducted.

Section 4(4)(b) of the Act also allows the responsible officer to impose certain conditions on the gathering or protest if there are reasonable grounds to do so in order to minimise traffic disruptions, to ensure continued access for others to their places of work and property, to prevent injury to any person and to prevent the destruction of property. When an officer imposes such conditions he or she is required by law to give written reasons for this.

Section 5 of the Act makes it clear that a gathering or protest may only be prohibited in extreme cases. This section states that:

When credible information on oath is brought to the attention of a responsible officer that there is a threat that a proposed gathering will result in serious disruption of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, injury to participants in the gathering or other persons, or extensive damage to property, and that the Police and the traffic officers in question will not be able to contain this threat, he shall forthwith meet or, if time does not allow it, consult with the convener and the authorized member, if possible, and any other person with whom, he believes, he should meet or consult, including the representatives of any police community consultative forum in order to consider the prohibition of the gathering.

Only after such a meeting would a responsible officer be able to prohibit a gathering, if he or she is convinced “on reasonable grounds” that no amendment to the conditions of the gathering would prevent serious disruptions or extensive damage to property.

Now, people who are familiar with Cape Town would know that no person could reasonably claim that a gathering on the Rondebosch common would seriously disrupt traffic or that it would pose a serious risk to people or that extensive damage to property would ensue. There are no buildings on the common and nobody lives or works on the common, so how the police could have decided that the gathering posed a serious risk to the safety of people or to damage of property is beyond me. In fact, I would go as far as saying that the police acted illegally (perhaps spurred on by the incendiary comments of the mayor?) by banning the gathering. The subsequent heavy handed actions against those who chose to gather on the common and the arrest of all those who took part was therefore in all likelihood illegal.

A liberal administration would never have made the kind of statements that De Lille made and would never have suggested that the protestors should be stopped. A liberal administration would have championed the right of protesters to gather and convey their message (even in a suburb where rich DA voters predominate) and would have done everything in its power to ensure that a peaceful protest with the least amount of disruption took place. But then again, the DA administration in Cape Town can probably only be said to be liberal in name.

PS: The headline is an ironic quotation of a headline which appeared in Die Son newspaper a few years ago when it reported on the fact that “singer” Patricia Lewis “acted” in a soft porn movie.

  • mhlongo

    hehehe ‘agents of destruction’ this sounds like ANC talk, in fact ANCYL talk.

  • Henriette Abrahams

    Thank you very much Pierre for this article and for clearing up the questions around the legality/unlawfulness of the march and the DA and SAPS’ heavy handed response.

  • Gwebecimele

    The dirty are not allowed on the lawns of Rondebosch. This will embarass us amongst foreign property owners and investors.

  • Graham

    Well Pierre, one would have thought that after your being thoroughly discredited by Gareth van Onselen, you would have paused to reflect on whether this is truly a constitutional blog, or simply a cheap and bitchy rant site to vent your prejudice, replete with the usual anti-DA rhetoric, obligatory ad hominem attacks, and fictional assumptions.
    Patricia’s alliance with the DA is BECAUSE she has progressive principles – something which would be completely alien to any race-obsessed, former Nat-supporting, social engineering advocate like yourself.

  • Gwebecimele

    Dlamini-Zuma not elected. It seems as if we battle to achieve on international goals.

  • Tom Blaser

    Graham, since you have nothing intelligent to say, you should rather remain silent. Arguments are fun to deal with, but you did not even manage to construct bad ones. The issue here at stake is indeed serious or how can a democracy allow the police and a public official to take the right away to protest ? I live just next to the Common and find it galling that the police would conjure up public safety reasons to deny the right to protest there. And what is De Lille’s strategic reasoning behind this? I hope it is not meant to criminalize protesters, a strategy that Zille seems to have used in Hout Bay in 2010. Another perturbing issue is that (white?) Capetonians treat this stretch of land as if it was some kind of holy cow because it was apparently given to the city’s (rich and white) citizens by no one other than Cecil John Rhodes – now how come that there is not a bit more critical engagement with his legacy other than simple encouragement to be grateful to this man and his legacy. It seems that the city and its inhabitants have embraced some sort of collective amnesia when it comes to their history and how the colonial past lives on in our present.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder


    “A liberal administration would never have made the kind of statements that De Lille made and would never have suggested that the protestors should be stopped.”

    Pierre is wrong.

    RACIST jackboot politics is precisely what one expect of a “liberal administration.” That is because liberals (and especially the liberal media) are inherently RACIST.

    Read Ronald Suresh Roberts, who provides a compelling account of the unswerving bigotry of liberals, especially the noxious “Cape liberals,” who have held sway in Rondebosch and other leaf-strewn suburbs since at least 1863.

    This is why I demand that Cape Town be returned forthwith to the rule of the progressive (viz, non-liberal), party of transformation viz, the ANC.


  • Graham

    So Tom, what part of your response is intelligent?

  • Gwebecimele
  • mhlongo

    Graham says “So Tom, what part of your response is intelligent?”

    Errr I think this one “Graham, since you have nothing intelligent to say, you should rather remain silent.”

  • Gwebecimele

    So judges want CC judges to hear a matter that affects them directly.
    The third arm of govt is seriously undermining the constitution.
    Radebe must be supported on this one.

  • Floreal

    Graham, I assume you are a DA cadre? You sound like one. Do you have full blown membership or do you just vote for them? Sold out political allegiance is not what is needed in this country – whether it be to the ANC or the DA. Even the white and bright and seemingly ‘clean’ (oh if ONLY most people knew the truth) DA make mistakes. In this instance they took a very pressing issue – POVERTY and ground those spokespeople into the ground. That is the rub of it.

  • Jared

    Hi Pierre,

    Thanks so much for your much needed article. I hope you endeavor to publish it in the Cape Times or another Cape Town paper. We, as activists in who participated in Fridays Take Back the Commons event, have been saying what you have said all along (though not as thoroughly). Unfortunately, the City ignored our letters trying to un-ban the event – this refusal to engage is also illegal). Even more problematic has been the media’s refusal to present our side of the issue. They continue to claim our gathering was illegal when in fact it was the City that was acting illegally.

    I disagree with you though about liberalism. De Lille is displaying liberalism in its purest form. Liberalism is always hypocritical and racist and classist. It is that way by definition (and in the name of equality).

  • Dmwangi

    “This used to be the legal situation in apartheid South Africa, but as we now live in a constitutional democracy it is no longer the case.”

    I like how PdV invokes this quote every time he sees something he does not like. PdV, you must come to grips with the fact that positive law is not a particularly powerful culture-shaping force. Enshrining a legal principle in law is no guarantee it will be instantiated as envisaged. That is precisely why ‘self-governance’ is logically prior to democracy. Law might be somewhat educative and provide various incentives for behavior but it can hardly make people– whether constables, politicians or radical law professors– self-governing.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Jared


  • Nkululeko

    Very informative article. Its amazing how media reports of the incident so uncritically described it as an “illegal protest”.

    A question I have though is with regards to de Lille and the police’s actions:

    If by their actions (first in failing to make accomodation for the gathering and second in resorting to armed aggression to squash the protest) de Lille and the police _did_ act illegally, what recourse does the public have to hold them accountable for these violations?

    How does somebody lay a formal complaint against the mayor?

    One would think that violating the constitution with such impunity would be reasonable gounds for dismissal as mayor (at the very least)..?

  • claude

    People of Hout Bay 0- D.A 10

    Broader cape 0 – D.A 10

  • Jeeves

    “Rondebosch common [is] a piece of untidy, windswept grass and bushes in the middle of the leafy middle-class suburbs of Cape Town.” It might be scruffy, but it is also a national monument, massively biodiverse, and home to a critically endangered variety of Fynbos (amongst other vegetation types).

    These people shouldn’t be denied their right to protest, but perhaps a less sensitive habitat would be more appropriate (e.g. Bishops Court). I hope the City and police reverses thir position.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    As a former activist, de Lille should know the law with regards to gatherings. She should already know that she can’t ban a protest without meeting with us first and without credible threats of violence that could not be assuaged through the meeting. This was an illegal act and a violation of our Constitutional rights and the specific procedure that the City is required to follow according to the Gatherings Act.

    It was also clearly illegal that they stopped and threatened people who protested in small groups, given that only groups of 15 or more constitute a legal gathering.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    What can we learn from this? Cape Town’s professional blacks who complain about racism and inequality in the city should know their place:

    You cannot stage a protest when high property values are at stake and where private poolside soirées and yoga sessions are bound to be disturbed by noisy chanting and annoying slogans that call for the actual delivery of election promises
    Protests and grumblings are best staged in the townships, where they can be contained or ignored. That’s why Verwoerd and his colleagues designed them in the first place
    Forbidden topics, such as sex across the Colour Bar (which is not located in Long Street, I am told), is far more newsworthy than poor people’s struggles with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
    Poverty is only sexy when it is framed for a fashion photo shoot, or for the album cover of a trendy punk-rock band or the exotic, postmodern marketing of Die Antwoord
    If you defy democratically elected leaders of the ruling party and the official opposition, you cannot expect to invoke talk of constitutional rights to free assembly in public spaces, free speech, freedom of movement or freedom from police brutality and harassment. After all, when you vote for national and provincial leaders, you are giving them a blank cheque. Live with it
    Don’t even try to invoke solidarity with American protesters by using the verb “occupy”. As any Republican will tell you, those people should just get jobs instead of expecting handouts from the hard-working rich, who deserve every perk they have earned. Professional blacks need to work hard if they want to get to Rondebosch. It is a free market, after all

  • Pekkil

    Hi prof,

    Many thanks, i for one had no idea about this law, and about the process and conditions under which a gathering can actually be ‘illegal’. And, as we stumble through 2012 towards Mangaung, i suspect that this law will be invoked (and abused) more and more, and i’m grateful for your explanation.

    Personally, i’m sad to see de Lille behave like this. I’ve held her in high regard for a long time. Structure creates behaviour, it seems inevitable.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    January 30, 2012 at 20:40 pm

    “Personally, i’m sad to see de Lille behave like this.”

    Pekkil – forgive her for she knows not what she does!

  • Brett Nortje

    Jared says:
    January 30, 2012 at 16:54 pm

    So, what is the excuse for pitching up 30 minutes late?

  • Dmwangi

    Here is the perpetual problem with PdV’s stance:

    On the one hand he recently expressed an affinity for Nietzsche, Foucault and Derrida. On the other hand he now wants to express righteous indignation about the rights of the poor being trampled. These views, to put it mildly, are not consistent. If he believes that human dignity is ontologically independent of ‘social constructs’– that is, that it really exists– then he ought not make his bed with ‘continental philosophers’ of the last 50 years– as he put it. If he does not, he should drop all the self-righteous huffing and puffing and make clear that his positions are inherently self-serving and that all of his talk about sticking up for the ‘marginalised’ is little more than artifice for exercising his self-will.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    January 30, 2012 at 22:58 pm

    Hey Dm…,

    “the self-righteous huffing and puffing and make clear that his positions are inherently self-serving”.

    Well spotted!

    p.s. Do you know of any human being, just a single one, whose positions are not “inherently self-serving”?

    If you do, please share.

  •!/ooofbaer Baer

    With all of the international shenanigans currently taking place — namely, ACTA — one would think you’d take a moment to talk about the link between the Constitution and international law, Pierre, and how ACTA would be contrary to our Constitution.

    I sent you a link about a year ago, if I recall correctly…


  • Dmwangi


    ‘p.s. Do you know of any human being, just a single one, whose positions are not “inherently self-serving”?’

    Yes. I know many. 2+2=4. Is that proposition self-serving? How bout, ‘all bachelors are single?’ It seems you, like PdV, believe everything (including reason and logical itself) is inherently political/ideological. If so, that would be a self-refuting proposition since it too would be subject to the ‘everything is political’ trope. Moreover, it means all actions are arbitrary exercises of power since there is no way to rationally adjudicate evaluate any question of practical reason. Best of luck governing or cobbling together any vestige of civil society with that meta-narrative.

    Don’t give me deconstructionism and the hermeneutics of suspicion one day and didactic Kantian imperatives the next.

  • Dmwangi


    Principle of falsification: in order for something to be true, you must be able to state under what conditions it could be proven false. Therefore, I ask: If you assert that all propositions are self-serving, under what conditions could this be disproven?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    January 31, 2012 at 1:05 am
    January 31, 2012 at 1:26 am


    positions vs propositions!

    See January 30, 2012 at 22:58 pm – “his positions are inherently self-serving”.

    Nobody takes a position unless it is inherently self-serving.

    Whether people make propositions that are not, is another discussion.

    Recheck you comment.

    And gracefully withdraw your rant!

  • Dmwangi

    What’s the difference between a proposition and a position? A position is going to be a proposition or set of propositions.

  • Dmwangi

    ‘Nobody takes a position unless it is inherently self-serving.’

    Again, in order for this to be a meaningful statement, you must tell me under what conditions it could be proven false?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    January 31, 2012 at 2:01 am


    “Again, in order for this to be a meaningful statement, you must tell me under what conditions it could be proven false?”

    It cannot be proven false!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    January 31, 2012 at 1:05 am


    “Yes. I know many. 2+2=4. Is that proposition self-serving? How bout, ‘all bachelors are single?’”

    LOL @ your not-self-serving propositions.

    You make two propositions to support your flawed assertion that there can be propositions which are not self-serving, thus the very act of making your propositions is self-serving.

    Lucky for you that you aren’t a spider – you would have ended up tangled in your own web. 😛

  • Dmwangi

    ‘‘Nobody takes a position unless it is inherently self-serving.’’

    This is the same kind of inane psychologism that says Hitler and Mother Teresa were both simply following their self-interest. You can’t define self-interest as ‘whatever a person chooses.’

  • Dmwangi

    ‘“Again, in order for this to be a meaningful statement, you must tell me under what conditions it could be proven false?”

    It cannot be proven false!’

    Then it can’t be true. It is a meaningless statement.

    Using logical truths to buttress my argument is hardly self-serving. I have nothing to gain if a second year PdV acolyte assents to its cogency. I was merely trying to help you through your muddled rationalisations.

  • ozoneblue

    January 31, 2012 at 1:05 am

    “Don’t give me deconstructionism and the hermeneutics of suspicion one day and didactic Kantian imperatives the next.”

    My thoughts exactly. It is bit like a blind date with gorgeous blonde with two vaginas.—and-she-s-not-shy-about-it

  • Gwebecimele
  • Gwebecimele
  • Gwebecimele

    Is this another “Bafana Debacle”. Dance and song in the face failure to qualify. This morning, the Pres confirm that Dlamini Zuma will run again but there is rumour that the rules may not allow her to stand again.

    Being a “human race” lets just field a white woman.

  • Anon

    I have been an avid fan and a daily reader of your blog for a couple of years now, but I have to say sadly that as time has passed your commentary has become more and more emotionally volatile. Your subjective commentary (at this point) really devalues your objective opinion on matters of law etc. I hate to say this, but you seem to be just as sanctimonious and self-righteous as Gareth Cliff these days. I truly enjoy your blog and I hope that you treat this comment not as a vicious attack, but as some form of constructive criticism from a loyal reader.

  • probono

    HI Pierre
    Please can you take up the case against SAPS against their illegal actions on the common?
    That would truly have an impact in the real world rather than bantering on a blog.

  • Brett Nortje

    Gwebecimele says:
    January 31, 2012 at 8:33 am


    MORE examples of the ANC’s destructive ‘transformation’ of the justice department?

  • Gwebecimele
  • ozoneblue

    January 31, 2012 at 8:49 am

    “Being a “human race” lets just field a white woman.”

    Hey, being a proud member of the evil much hated white heterosexual male race I’m all for gorgeous blonde with one (or two) vaginas.

  • Gwebecimele


    This is not a “sexuallyspeaking blog”

  • Gwebecimele

    Comrade Nazir wants your money.
    He hopes to make break through in one of the sleepy communities.

  • ozoneblue

    January 31, 2012 at 10:40 am

    “This is not a “sexuallyspeaking blog””

    Apologies. I just cant get this song out of my head.

  • Gwebecimele

    Not even the leaking condoms of Mangaung can stop this tsunami.
    DASO is right “Colourdes” are the future.

  • ozoneblue

    January 31, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I would say that does reinforce Afriforum’s evidence for a gradual process of ethnic cleansing – if not genocide.

  • Jama ka Sijadu

    Well, now we know what to expect if the DA should ever win enough votes to run the country: more of the same.
    Isn’t it amazing how having just a little bit of power transforms even the most respected of former activists into intolerant mini-dictators?

    Interesting to note that the politicians & police in the oh so democratic US are dealing with the Occupy Movement in a similiar way (break them up, moer them, lock them up)

    These protesters should be careful: whether in DA or ANC controlled territory, this is the same police force that killed Andries Tatane, in broad daylight (in front of TV cameras) for daring to suggest that the government keep their election promises.

  • Chris (not the right wing guy!)

    I always wondered who reads Die Son newpaper. Now I know of at least one reader!

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ Jama

    ” now we know what to expect if the DA should ever win enough votes to run the country: more of the same.”

    No, Jama, it will be much worse if the DA takes control. DA ward councillors who shoot at little babies get big promotions!

  • Jama ka Sijadu

    Prof de Vos: one day when you have time, please could you do a piece on the SOPA, ACTA & PIPA legislation currently being contemplated in the US & Europe & it’s effect (if any) on us Africans (especially people like Gwebecimele et al, who like to post links all over the place :-) )?

  • Jama ka Sijadu

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    January 31, 2012 at 13:33 pm

    MDF, with respect, I note the word “RACIST” did not appear in your last post.

    Shouldn’t it read “it will be much worse if the RACIST DA takes control. RACIST DA ward councillors who shoot at little babies get big promotions”?


  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ JKS

    Apologies, point taken.

  • Gwebecimele

    @ JKS

    Does that apply to PdV pasting links on his blog and media channels quoting or repeating each other? LOL

  • Gwebecimele

    @ jks

    PIPA, SOPA etc are intended to protect IP especially movies, books, songs software etc and not published stories that link back to source.
    You are trying to shoot a fly with an ak47.

  • ozoneblue

    January 31, 2012 at 16:29 pm

    “PIPA, SOPA etc are intended to protect IP”

    Would that extend to protecting racist social engineering concepts such as Hendrik Verwoerd’s racial categories for regulating access to universities and job preservation?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    @ OB

    “racist social engineering concepts such as Hendrik Verwoerd’s racial categories for regulating access to universities and job preservation …”

    OB, with respect, it is offensive and misleading to make this comparison. You must understand that:

    Verwoerd’s racial social engineering was founded on BAD INTENTIONS.

    Post apartheid racial social engineering is founded on GOOD INTENTIONS.


  • Jama ka Sijadu

    Gwebecimele says:
    January 31, 2012 at 16:29 pm

    The intention (of protecting copyright) is clear. What is not so clear is why companies like Wikipedia & Google are protesting?
    Is this not another POIB on an international scale?

  • ozoneblue

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    January 31, 2012 at 17:09 pm

    So its is OK to steal concepts and ideas without attribution, if the “intentions are good”. Is that what they say in the UCT’s new transformed academic ethics policy?

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    OB, no, I did not mean to say that intellectual property theft is OK if well-intentioned.

    It is only affirmative action that is rendered OK by the good intentions that animate it.

    Glad I could clarify the difference for you.

  • bob

    What does the fact that protests have to be cleared with the municipality and may be denied by a number of reason have to do with Apartheid. Because it is a DA controlled municipality. This is normal in all democracies. Get your bearings straight.

    Quoting Ronald Roberts is not such a great idea, I have known this person and I can say he is a double-dealing hypocrit, scum would not be an insult. Choose your idols better but it explains your convoluted and often unreadable postings. Sincerly I hope this is the only thing that you have in common with him.

  • ozoneblue

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder
    January 31, 2012 at 17:41 pm

    “It is only affirmative action that is rendered OK by the good intentions that animate it.”

    Well I think I disagree that Hendrik Verwoerd was necessarily motivated by “bad intentions”. He wanted to uplift poor Afrikaners who suffered annihilation at the hands of British colonialism. He even wanted to protect native Africans from being contaminated and disadvantaged by “Western culture, values and education”. Even Max Price said that much.

    I suggest you read David Benatar’s response for even one original though.

    “No proxy for disadvantage is going to be perfect. Whatever proxy one chooses, there will be some disadvantaged people who do not have the proxy characteristic and there will be some advantaged people who do have it. However, the use of “race” is a particularly toxic proxy. It is steeped in South Africa’s appalling past and it reinforces the racial thinking that is both morally reprehensible and damaging. There are alternatives that are much less obnoxious and they should be embraced.”

  • John Roberts

    Of course Patricia Lewis acted in the porn movie !

    She’s not capable of real orgasms.

  • Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder

    Dlamini! Mzizi!

    Jama Ka Sijadu

    Mafuya ezifayo izinkomo zikaMlangeni

    Mabandla ka Nzila

    Amathole ka Fakathi

    Abantwana bomsuthukazi osishubha sisemqolo

    Baka Lusibalukhulu Ndlovu edla ekhaya ngenxa yokweswela abelusi

    Nkosi! Hlubi lomuhle wemalangeni, lowagudla libombo ngokuhlehlezela

    Lowacedza libombo ethwele umfunti

    Baka Mnyamezeli enanyamezeli izimpi zoKhahlamba nade nayokhosela kwa Xhosa

    Gugu lamagwala

  • bob

    Stay away from the copy & paste function.

  • Gwebecimele



    During an e-mail correspondence between the JRA and the school, a Fairways Primary representative was told that the only “solution” to the school’s problem was for a horrible accident to occur at the corner.

    The school has been battling the roads agency to put up a traffic light.

    Before her retirement in the middle of last year, former councillor Ray Wolder had been in communication with the JRA’s William Mabotja on behalf of the school.

    In an e-mail exchange in May last year, Mabotja wrote: “The cost to install a robot is (plus minus) R300 000. The robot that was installed on Corlett cnr Jacob (a few roads up from the school) was due to an old woman being hit by a car. This will be your solution.”

    The e-mail shocked the school’s governing body, parents and teachers.

    School principal Tracy Rae has said that in the four years she has been at the helm, various parents’ organisations have requested a traffic light from the JRA.” by IOL

  • Gwebecimele

    I am getting tired of this BEE talk shop.

  • Gwebecimele

    @ JkS

    “GWEBECIMELE says:
    January 31, 2012 at 8:49 am
    Is this another “Bafana Debacle”. Dance and song in the face failure to qualify. This morning, the Pres confirm that Dlamini Zuma will run again but there is rumour that the rules may not allow her to stand again.”

    Peter Bruce says;

    “The outcome of the election for the top job in the AU was reminiscent of Bafana Bafana’s victory celebrations at the qualifier for the African Cup of Nations”

  • Jama ka Sijadu

    Mikhail Dworkin Fassbinder says:
    January 31, 2012 at 20:57 pm

    Is that from Wikipedia or are you reciting from memory MDF?

  • Jama ka Sijadu

    Gwebecimele says:
    February 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

    LOL, Peter Bruce obviously reads iMaverick! But can one copyright an analogy?

    Mara why do we like celebrating mediocrity in this country these days?
    Don’t you miss the days of ‘Madiba Magic’, where winning was the only option?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    January 31, 2012 at 2:23 am


    “This is the same kind of inane psychologism that says Hitler and Mother Teresa were both simply following their self-interest.”

    Hitler and Mother Teresa were both simply following their self-interest!

  • Dmwangi

    ‘Hitler and Mother Teresa were both simply following their self-interest!’

    That is lunacy.

    Rational and responsible people assume the burden of proof for their assertions. You can start by demonstrating how your assertion meets the test of the falsification principle. However, I expect you’ll hunker down in the comfortable certitude that only the meglo-ignorant find blissful.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    February 1, 2012 at 20:56 pm

    Hey Dm…,

    It seems that you are short on substance and long on ranting words.

    You say “Rational and responsible people assume the burden of proof for their assertions.”

    Now support your assertions that “is lunacy”.

    Show, explain or argue convincingly that people don’t always act in self-interest above all else – if you can that is.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    “Lemme tell ya something …”


    After Florida win, Romney stumbles in comments on poor

  • Dmwangi

    I see you decided to hunker down and ignore my challenge.

    It is lunacy because it should be self-evidently false to all rational persons. Ever meet someone who struggles with addiction? Ever heard of the phrase ‘cognitive dissonance?’ Ever fail to do something you know you ought to do? Ever heard of suicide? How about the soldier who throws himself on a grenade to save his comrades? All would be examples of people having an awareness that they don’t always act in their self-interest– at least not in the circular definitional sense you want to give it.

    Moreover, if people are incapable of acting in ways outside their self-interest– a term you haven’t defined but what you seem to equate with non-cognitive antecedents of practical reason- then all ethics is a charade. There can be no rational purpose to engage in dialogue or argumentation. All actions are arbitrary. No action is legitimate or illegitimate. Etc., etc. Which begs the question, why are on here endlessly debating people? Why do you seem to care about issues discussed on this site?

    If you’re asserting that self-interest is equivalent to utility maximization, I have yet to meet a single person whose actions are always and forever uniformly oriented toward that principle. Human nature and motivation is far too complex to reduce it to one simplistic, puerile principle.

    The disparity between your knowledge and certitude is troubling. UCT must do better by its students.

    For a comprehensive refutation of your lunacy read Anscombe, Adler, Kenny,and MacIntyre.


  • Dmwangi

    Actually, start w/Grisez ‘Beyond the New Morality.’ He’s less pedantic and you won’t get frustrated with lots of philosophy jargon.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    February 2, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Eish Dm…,

    “All actions are arbitrary.”

    In your rant you got confused!

    Acting in self-interest is anything but arbitrary.

    Suicide – death is the better option than living …

    The soldier who would rather die a hero …

    Better than speculating around these nameless, faceless (now dead) okes (which does not support your contention anyway) how about an example of where you have acted without self-interest.

    p.s. I (and everyone else) care about issues discussed on this site because it’s in my interests to do so.

    Thanks for the nice reads – but I really will prefer to hear what you (and OB but not JR and Dworky) have to say.

  • Brett Nortje

    Er, those white folk who voted ‘yes’ in the referendum to end Apartheid?

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Brett Nortje
    February 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

    LOL G,

    Now you’re rubbing salt in Dm’s wounds.


  • ozoneblue

    February 2, 2012 at 1:41 am

    “The disparity between your knowledge and certitude is troubling. UCT must do better by its students.”

    You must be joking. UCT has become fixated in Critical Race Theory – a racist pseudo-scientific dogma borrowed form the USA that advocates that all of human history can be summarised as a conspiracy of “White supremacy” against “Black people”.

  • Dmwangi

    Let me try one last time. I think you’re conflating selfishness– disregard for the appropriate interests of others– with self-interest. 

    Your hypothesis is: all actions are self-interested. If a hypothesis makes a factual claim about the world, then there must be some conditions under which it can be verified or refuted.  Otherwise, it is meaningless.

    If you can define what self-regarding behavior is so we can distinguish it from nonself-regarding behavior, then we have the available categories to test the hypothesis  and can examine everyone’s actions and see if indeed they all fall into the self-regarding category. 

    You’ll notice that by defining something in a way that’s untestable, my statement that you’re a lunatic can seem valid. But you say, ‘I’m not a lunatic.’ To which the reply goes, ‘Thats what all lunatics say.’  You reply, ‘but my behavior is perfectly well-adjusted.’ To which I say, ‘All lunatics mask their lunacy with normalcy.’ In the same way you’ve defined self-interest as ‘any action committed by a person,’  I define lunacy as ‘someone who says and does whatever you say and do.’ 

    However, one may even wonder, a priori, how your hypothesis can be true if certain mental states exists. How could someone ever feel regret (let alone anticipate feeling it prior to acting– ‘I know I’m going to regret this later but….’) if all actions are self-interested? Why would I regret one act more than another if all acts are by definition self-interested? And are we going to say that the act of regretting is also self-interested? How bout self-loathing regret– is that too self-interested? If so, it seems like an odd way of defining self-interest. 

  • Dmwangi

    Is the alcoholic, who wants to stop drinking but can’t, acting from self-interest?

    Please give me your definition of self-interest so I know what we’re dealing with.

  • Dmwangi

    And yes, if people are incapable of acting in non self-interested ways, by definition they are not free to act altruistically. If actions are not free, for all practical purposes, they are arbitrary and cannot be critically evaluated.

  • Steven

    Where’d you get your degree Prof? SAPS are not under the authority of local government. It’s in the Constitution, which you apparently have a degree in and also teach! Maybe you need to brush up on some of the stuff they taught you in law school, or ask for your money back.

  • Gwebecimele

    @ Maggs

    Romney promises the land of milk and honey to the middle class. This will be funded by our raw materials and global cosumers such as OB who volunteers their stomach & wages to Coke, Kellogs, Pepsi, Apple etc.

    Who else can bring Main Street to Wall Street better than an ex Fund Manager. There is no doubt who will milk that middle class of its hard earned wages.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    February 2, 2012 at 13:06 pm

    Hey Dm,

    “But you say, ‘I’m not a lunatic.’ ”

    Speak for yourself – I deny that I am not a lunatic. In fact I am proudly lunatic.

    But your ranting is getting more intense.

    And you’re making less sense.

    Calm down – then tell me of an instance where you have not acted in self-interest. Just one.

  • Dmwangi

    That’s fine.

    Your incorrigibilty illustrates why youth unemployment must be addressed. I’m convinced that if you were engaged in productive employment you wouldn’t find such gratification from spending countless hours engaging in vapid arguments and obfuscation on some third-tier law prof’s blog.


  • Maggs Naidu –

    February 2, 2012 at 19:45 pm

    Hey DM,

    “I’m convinced that if you were engaged in productive employment”

    I can assure you that your granny is not providing for my well being!

    Now make some sense – and tell me if there is ever an instance in which you have not acted in self-interest.

  • Dmwangi

    I just did. I wasted at least 30 mins in aggregate trying to help you ratiocinate through your idiocy and I loathed every minute of it.

    Now I’m going to act in my self-interest (and sanity) and jettison you and this blog.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    February 2, 2012 at 20:35 pm


    You were trying to convincingly argue kak – pretending magnanimity is so dof.

    Pretending that I need your help is retarded.

    But there is a cure for self-loathing – try suicide.

    And do say when you have been successful.


  • Michael Osborne

    Dmwangi and Maggs, you are arguing at cross purposes, as a result of your failure to make an elementary distinction.

    First, there is “pure” self interest, what we call “selfishness.” This behaviour is aimed at the short term benefit of the selfish person, who defines his “selfhood” as being confined to his emperical biological singularity.

    Second, there is “enlightened self interest.” Under that approach the individual is free to define his interests and indeed his self in the broadest terms possible. A suicide bomber, for example, defines his “self” as encompassing his entire people and, indeed believes that his true self will not be destroyed at all, but move to paradise.

    Yes, in one sense both of my examples are self-maximisers, but what they deem to be the ‘self” that is maximised is very different.

  • Dmwangi


    How many times did I ask the neophyte to define his terms?

    I believe I distinguished between selfishness–disregarding the appropriate interests of others– and self-interest– behaving in ways that most comport with my own health, well-being, flourishing, etc.

    Did I also not ask him to demonstrate how his psychological egoism complies with the falsifiability principle?

    We’re arguing at cross-purposes because your pupil is willful, idle and ignorant. A toxic amalgam!

  • Maggs Naidu –

    February 2, 2012 at 23:52 pm

    Hey twit,

    “How many times did I ask the neophyte to define his terms?”

    Self-interest is not my term, it’s yours!

    p.s. You said above that you were going to “jettison [me] and this blog”.

    You lied!

    n.b. Lied is my term – want a definition?

    p.p.s. Notwithstanding Prof MO’s attempt to save your ass, you’re still talking nonsense.

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Michael Osborne
    February 2, 2012 at 23:06 pm

    Hey Prof,

    You’re taking the exchange out of context.

    See Dim wangi
    January 30, 2012 at 22:58 pm

    “…If he does not, he should drop all the self-righteous huffing and puffing and make clear that his positions are inherently self-serving …”.

    Self-serving somehow mutated to self-interest – never mind it carries a similar meaning for purposes of the exchange.

    Anyhow, I hold the view that everything we do is self-serving and/or in self-interest – and I’ll hold that view until a convincing case is made to refute.

    I wait with baited breath.

  • Dmwangi


    What are you teaching students at this alleged University?

    If UCT is the premier African university, we’re doomed! See Maggs for an instantiation of ‘doom.’

  • ozoneblue

    February 2, 2012 at 23:52 pm

    You are waisting your time. Professional Black cannot be argued with. They flourish in the cultural-historical propaganda nexus where CRT, Black Consciousness and South Africa’s colonial history unfortunately overlaps.

    ” These professional blacks are, in some ways, a people without history. They are people without a past. For them to succeed as professional blacks, they must pretend that there was no black business class in SA before 1994. They must pretend black enterprise emerged only after the end of apartheid, thanks to black economic empowerment and affirmative action.

    Professional blacks are anti-intellectual by definition. They cannot be honest about the political and economic history of SA without abandoning their bad-faith politics. They believe, in bad faith, that they are the pioneers of black business and that it all starts with them. They have to be anti-intellectual because a true commitment to honest intellectual exchange — such as the one essayed by Manuel in his open letter to Manyi — would expose their charlatanism. It would show up their selfishness.”

  • Gwebecimele

    I hope the reason for this decision is over simplified in this article. It reads like “Stop being a mosquito in the govt tent”

  • Maggs Naidu –

    Hey OB,

    What say you about this reverse AA, eh?

    He said his club is so successful that “even white strippers have contacted me wanting to dance” at his pub.

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