Quote of the week

The unhappy fact that it is journalists, investigating organs of state and officialdom and the political class and their involvement in corrupt practices to loot the State’s resources, who, by so doing, attract the attention of powerful and influential persons who are capable of suborning the apparatus of the State to smell out their adversaries, cannot be ignored. The examples of abuse of the system have been addressed elsewhere in this judgment. Moreover, the respondents’ perspectives assume that the designated judge is not lied to and is diligent… In my view, in the absence of a rebuttal, this example illustrates a grave vulnerability in RJCA that such an apparent abuse could occur. The common cause examples of blatant lies being told to the designated judge further exacerbates the vulnerability of the system.

Sutherland J
Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism NPC and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others
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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