Quote of the week

An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
8 January 2010

Book announcement: “Walk with us and listen: Political reconciliation in Africa”

Walk with us and listen: Political reconciliation in Africa

Author: C Villa Vicencio

ISBN: 978-1-91989-530-7

Size: 225 x 152mm

Extent: 224 pages

Format: Soft cover

Pub date: September 2009

Recommended Retail Price: R220 (incl. VAT)

Effective peace agreements are rarely accomplished by idealists. The process of moving from situations of entrenched oppression, armed conflict and open warfare towards peace and reconciliation requires a series of small steps and compromises to open the way for the kind of dialogue and negotiation that makes political stability, the beginning of democracy and the rule of law a possibility. For over 40 years, Charles Villa-Vicencio has been on the front lines of Africa’s battle for racial equality. In Walk with Us and Listen, he argues that reconciliation needs honest talk to promote trust-building and enable former enemies and adversaries to explore joint solutions to the cause of their conflicts. He offers a critical assessment of the South African experiment in transitional justice as captured in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and considers the influence of ubuntu, in which individuals are defined by their relationships, and other traditional African models of reconciliation. Political reconciliation is offered as a cautious model against which transitional politics needs to be measured. Villa-Vicencio challenges those who stress the obligation to prosecute those allegedly guilty of gross violation of human rights, replacing this call with the need for more complementarity between the International Criminal Court and African mechanisms to achieve the greater goals of justice and peace-building.

Contents Abbreviations Introduction A Theoretical Prologue: Affinities and Tensions in Debate Chapter 1: An African Journey Chapter 2: Shared Peace Chapter 3: From Encounter to Settlement Chapter 4: National Conversation Chapter 5: Ubuntu Chapter 6: African Traditional Reconciliation Practices Chapter 7: Why Reconciliation is Important Chapter 8: Seeking Consensus Recommended for Students and practitioners in law, human rights, transitional justice, politics and international relations.

About the author

Charles Villa-Vicencio is a visiting research fellow at The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and executive consultant at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa. He was executive director of the Institute from 2000-2007. He was also national research director of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is the author or editor of 18 books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights and The Spirit of Freedom: South African Leaders on Religion and Politics.

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