Quote of the week

Excluding refugees from the right to work as private security providers simply because they are refugees will inevitably foster a climate of xenophobia which will be harmful to refugees and inconsistent with the overall vision of our Constitution. As a group that is by definition vulnerable, the impact of discrimination of this sort can be damaging in a significant way. In reaching this conclusion it is important to bear in mind that it is not only the social stigma which may result from such discrimination, but also the material impact that it may have on refugees.

Mokgoro J and O’Regan J (dissenting)
Union of Refugee Women and Others v Director, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority and Others (CCT 39/06) [2006] ZACC 23
30 January 2007

Dick Cheney vs Thabo Mbeki

Superficially there are some interesting parallels between Vice President Dick Cheney and President Thabo Mbeki. Not naturally warm, not media friendly and prone to making assertions that seem at the very least eccentric and at best wrong and dangerous, both have had their fare share of criticism.

Mbeki denied the link between HIV and Aids while Cheney claimed 18 months ago that the insurgency was “in its last throes” and last week said that Iraq has been a “tremendous success”.

Of course, Mbeki’s politics is far to the left of Cheney’s and he does seem to have a much better grasp on reality than Cheney who seems completely bonkers of late.

In any case, when I saw this clip by comedian John Stewart completely demolishing Cheney after he had been particularly unhinged when interviewed by Wolf Blitzer last week, I realised that it was not possible for any TV comedian in South Africa to treat President Mbeki in the same manner.

Somehow, we are not ready yet. Things are too tricky, given our apartheid past, to ridicule a leader in such a brutal way. The Hansie Cronje effect would kick in and Mbeki would garner much sympathy from many South Africans.

O well, meanwhile, sit back and enjoy a really honest comedian doing what he does best.

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