Quote of the week

As seductive as certain perspectives of international law may appear to those who disagree with the outcome of the interpretative exercise conducted by this Court in the contempt judgment, sight must not be lost of the proper place of international law, especially in respect of an application for rescission. The approach that my Brother adopts may be apposite in the context of an appeal, where a court is enjoined to consider whether the court a quo erred in its interpretation of the law. Although it should be clear by now, I shall repeat it once more: this is not an appeal, for this Court’s orders are not appealable. I am deeply concerned that seeking to rely on articles of the ICCPR as a basis for rescission constitutes nothing more than sophistry.

Khampepe J
Zuma v Secretary of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, Corruption and Fraud in the Public Sector Including Organs of State and Others (CCT 52/21) [2021] ZACC 28 (17 September 2021)
25 May 2012

Hamlet’s idea is to catch out his uncle Claudius, who has usurped the throne by killing Hamlet’s father. So the meta-theatrical prince devises a plan to have the murder acted out in front of the murderer: “guilty creatures sitting at a play”, he says, cannot tolerate it when their sins are portrayed to them by actors, and so they “proclaim their malefactions” — they are forced to confess. As expected, Claudius betrays himself through his outraged response to Hamlet’s play. He falls into the trap of mimesis, confusing the work of art for the real world, precisely because it aggravates his guilty conscience. Zuma and his allies, through their over-reaction to Murray’s art, are in fact acknowledging that there is some merit in its critique. Claudius calls off Hamlet’s play; Zuma wanted The Spear removed from the gallery; two “free radicals” pre-empted any court decision by defacing the painting. But although Zuma and his supporters have pretended to be offended by the artist, or may even have convinced themselves they are truly offended, like King Claudius they will soon privately admit: “O, my offence is rank — it smells to heaven!” – Chris Thurman in Business Day

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