Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
21 September 2011

Equal Education town hall at Open Book week in Cape Town

Since the inaugural People’s Summit for Quality Education in June, Equal Education has been active on many fronts. In mid-July, EE members staged a sleep-in outside Parliament where we reiterated our call that Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga adopt regulations providing for Minimum Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure.

We are also in the process of establishing the Equal Education Law Centre, which will provide specialised expertise in education law and policy. The EE Law Centre will open its doors in January 2012.

Most importantly, we are preparing for court action against the National and Provincial Departments of Education. We are joined in this action by the infrastructure crisis committees of two schools in the Eastern Cape (see http://www.equaleducation.org.za/node/606).

This week sees the start of the inaugural Open Book Festival in Cape Town (http://openbookfestival.co.za/). Equal Education has been partnering with Open Book. In part, this will help leverage support for our ‘1 School! 1 Library! 1 Librarian!” campaign among festival-goers. But beyond this, we are hoping that the Youth Programme – which we have co-organised – will generate excitement for reading in the communities and schools where EE works.

During the Open Book festival, we will be hosting a town hall meeting entitled ‘Free the Book: How to make South Africa a reading nation.’ Raising the issue of literacy during a literary festival is fitting and – in our view – imperative. A recent quantitative survey conducted by the South African Book Development Council found that 51% of South African households do not have a single book in their homes, that only 14% of South Africans are active readers and that only 5% of South Africans read to their children. 45% of people polled felt that books were too expensive.

The panellists, who will be leading the discussion, are: – Jay Naidoo (former Cosatu General Secretary and co-founder of the J&J Group) – Sindiwe Magona (author) – Mignon Hardie (Managing Trustee of the FunDza Literacy Trust and co-founder of Cover2Cover Books) – Ntuthuzo Ndzomo (Equal Education).

The discussion takes place on Thursday, 22 September, at 18h00 at Hiddingh Hall (Orange Street, Gardens). Attendance is free. Please see attached invitation and join us for the discussion.

Our team at the Bookery has also been collaborating with Open Book to establish a functioning library at Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School in Khayelitsha. This will be the 12th school library established through EE’s Bookery Project. The official opening takes place on Saturday, 24 September at 10h00. Thereafter, a group of young people will participate in the Open Book Youth Day, which will include a visit to the Harare Library in Khayelitsha (for readings by celebrated young authors Sifiso Mzobe and Cynthia Jele) and the Homecoming Centre in Cape Town. There the Human Rights Media Centre (HRMC) will take participants through a series of performances and activities designed to raise awareness about the importance of story-telling as well as some of the ethical dilemmas one face when telling someone else’s story.

Please contact us should you require any further information. We hope to see you Thursday evening!

Yours in Equal and Quality Education for all

Contact: Gina Fourie Equal Education Tel: +27 21 387 0022 Cell: +27 74 140 9884 Fax: +27 86 725 1652 www.equaleducation.org.za  http://twitter.com/equal_education  http://www.facebook.com/equal.education

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