Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) confirmed that the use of state funds to pay former President Jacob Zuma’s private lawyers who represented him in matters relating to his prosecution for corruption was unlawful and unconstitutional. The SCA also confirmed that Mr Zuma was obliged to pay back the money to the state. But the judgment further contains a timely warning about the problem of elected officials using access to (seemingly unlimited) state funds “to resist being held accountable” by obstructing or delaying a prosecution.

Some South Africans regularly complain that individuals involved in criminal activities – but who happen to have pots of money, political influence or social and economic power – are seldom investigated and prosecuted. As race remains a significant marker of economic inequality in South Africa, there is also a widespread perception that the criminal justice system tends to favour white suspects over black suspects.    (more…)


Quote of the week

My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?

Nathaniel P.Morris
Scientific American
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