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
19 June 2009

Surprise! Paul Ngobeni is a liar

I took part in a debate with Paul Ngobeni this morning on SAFM about whether Judge President John Hlophe should be appointed to the Constitutional Court. My dear friend Paul said in his opening remarks that I had written on this Blog that I “hate” Hlophe. I was rather taken aback by this as I have never written on this Blog (or anywhere else, for that matter) that I hate anyone. Ngobeni was, in fact, telling a scurrilous lie. What I actually said was EXACTLY the opposite, and I quote:

Really, it deeply angers me that those who are charged by the Constitution to uphold the Constitution and the law could steep so low. They should be ashamed of themselves. This does not make me a person who hates the Judge President (or his lawyers). It does make me a person who is very, very angry with the Judge President. It makes me a person who is beginning to wonder whether the Judge President has the requisite moral compass required to continue serving as a judge in our beautiful democracy – regardless any finding of the JSC in the CC case against him.

Mr Ngobeni has shown a propsensity to distort both facts and the law to suit his purpose and this morning was no exception. If I was Hlophe I would feel ashamed to be associated with such blatant dishonesty. As Judge Hlophe himself has been caught telling lies, I suppose it is par for the course though.

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