Quote of the week

Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation.  This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.

KHAMPEPE J and THERON J
Public Protector v South African Reserve Bank (CCT107/18) [2019] ZACC 29 (22 July 2019)
7 April 2007

But photocopying does not pay as well…

I have obviously upset some pure-minded people with my views on prostitution. One reader now even calls me a postmodernist who “ultimately ascribes to no form of reason at all”.

But it is some form of reason that makes me question the motives of people who claim to want to help sex workers by criminalising their work. Surely, if we legalised sex work, it would undermine the power of pimps and others who exploit sex workers? In that way sex workers will face less exploitation than they do now. O, yes, and of course they will not face police harassment and jail time for earning a living in this particular way.

In the end, the argument is not about reason at all. It is clearly about sex and whether one thinks that sex outside the procreative marriage is evil, sinful, dirty and disgusting. If one does, then one can obviously not fathom sex work as another legal job because one believes the state has a duty to enforce the moral views of one section of the community on all of us – regardless of the consequences to others.

This is not a pro-women position but an anti-sex position. It is, of course, deeply illiberal and quite patronising towards woman and many woman who make a living from sex work would feel highly aggrieved by these attempts to “help” them.

I come from another perspective. I do not see sex as having any moral significance on its own. Having sex is morally no different from having dinner, or making photocopies. It might often be more enjoyable, but it is just another activity. Of course if one is raped after having dinner with someone, or if one is sexually harassed in the photocopying room, then those acts would be worthy of condemnation and criminalisation.

However, one does not protect the woman by banning them from having dinner with strangers or from taking a job doing photocopies. Why would one then claim to protect woman by banning them from doing sex work – because one thinks they are disgusting fro doing it? The christianists may not agree with me, but they can’t say this view is not based on a kind of reasoning. It is just not the kind of reasoning that they like.

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