Quote of the week

An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
27 March 2007

Jonny Steinberg, Steve Biko and Thabo Mbeki

Jonny Steinberg’s column in yesterday’s Business Day, present a more eloquent version of my post on this Blog last week in which I suggested Presindet Thabo Mbeki should read more Biko. Money Quote:

[Mbeki’s] broadsides against white racism and his penchant for incarcerating black men are, I think, symptoms of the same dispiritedness. They are the thoughts and actions of an odd and unheralded figure — the black Afro-pessimist.

When one looks at institutions such as our police force and our health system, when one witnesses their degree of paralysis, one wonders whether one of the maladies from which they are suffering is not the president’s disenchantment and his pessimism. Come 2009, I hope we are blessed with a president who still believes in the art of the possible. For I suspect that the one we have now no longer does.

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