Quote of the week

It is necessary that the integrity of the electoral process be maintained. Indeed, the acceptance of the election as being free and fair depends upon that integrity. Elections must not only be free and fair but they must be perceived as being free and fair. Even-handedness in dealing with all political parties and candidates is crucial to that integrity and its perception by voters. The Commission must not be placed in a situation where it has to make ad hoc decisions about political parties and candidates who have not complied with the Act. The requirement that documents must be submitted to the local offices of the Commission does not undermine the right to vote and to stand for election. It simply gives effect to that right and underscores the decentralised and local nature of municipal elections.

Ngcobo CJ
Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa v Inkatha Freedom Party
28 November 2006

Civil Union Bill said to ignite debates accross Africa

This facinating article from Afrol news claims that the acceptance of same-sex marriage in South Africa has opened up spaces for discussions on homosexuality in many other parts of Africa.

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This is what I call the productive power of the Constitution: Constitutional rights can have an effcet far beyond the mere invalidation of existing pieces of legislation. Because the law is also productive – by that I mean it helps to produce the reality we live in – constitutional challenges can have far-reaching social and political effects by changing the way people think about their world.

Of course, it can also produce powerful forces of resistance. After the discussions are over, there is always the likelihood of a backlash and more repression. But that backlash may again, in turn, lead to resistance by gay and lesbian groups now emboldened.

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