Quote of the week

Universal adult suffrage on a common voters roll is one of the foundational values of our entire constitutional order. The achievement of the franchise has historically been important both for the acquisition of the rights of full and effective citizenship by all South Africans regardless of race, and for the accomplishment of an all-embracing nationhood. The universality of the franchise is important not only for nationhood and democracy. The vote of each and every citizen is a badge of dignity and of personhood. Quite literally, it says that everybody counts. In a country of great disparities of wealth and power it declares that whoever we are, whether rich or poor, exalted or disgraced, we all belong to the same democratic South African nation; that our destinies are intertwined in a single interactive polity.

Justice Albie Sachs
August and Another v Electoral Commission and Others (CCT8/99) [1999] ZACC 3
14 December 2009

Medical Miracles (ad infinitum)

Schabir Shaik, who was convicted of bribing President Jacob Zuma and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for bribing our President, was unlawfully released from prison on 3 March 2009 on medical parole “to die a dignified death” because he was supposedly in the last stages of a terminal illness. Mr Shaik has now been a free man for more than 250 days after being released for supposedly being at death’s door, which just goes to show that he was released based on lies and deception.

Of course, we know Shaik was not at deaths door (because we saw the report prepared by the doctors who never said that he was in the last stages of a terminal illness), and we thus know for a fact that the parole board released Shaik unlawfully as Shaik did not meet the legal criteria for release.

Meanwhile Shaik has been spotted playing golf (but not – yet – doing what that other famous golfer seems to have been doing over the past few years). A medical miracle indeed.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said  last week Shaik was authorised to attend physiotherapy from 10.30am to 12.30pm on the Wednesday when he was spotted on the golf course, which prompts one to wonder whether his physiotherapist might not be an avid golfer.

The newspaper article about him allegedly being spotted playing golf at a club in Durban was brought to his attention and an explanation was requested from him. “Mr Shaik submitted a statement in this regard wherein he refuted the allegation,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

So, let’s get this straight. The Minister is taking at his word, a man who was convicted of fraud and corruption and was found by the trial judge to lack any honesty and credibility. I really have a nice piece of lush forest land in the Karoo I want to sell to the Minister along with shares in a pyramid scheme. Come to think of it, maybe I can get the Minister to ask Father Christmas to bring me a Porsche. (I have always been envious of the Judge President because he drives a Porsche while claiming to care about transformation and the poor.) If she believes Shaik, she must surely also believe in Father Christmas, the tooth fairly and the integrity of the arms deal.

Mapisa-Nqakula also said she had no evidence that the doctors erred in their recommendation to grant Shaik medical parole, nor that the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board erred in its decision. Well, this is unfortunately not true. The Act states that a person has to be in the last stages of a terminal illness and THEN the parole board can consider him or her for release. The doctors never said that Shaik was in the last stages of a terminal illness, hence the parole board erred. The Minister’s claim that there is no evidence that it erred is so preposterous and laughable that it really casts a very dark shadow over the integrity and honesty of our Minister.

It is amazing how some among us would not play fast and loose with the truth in order to ingratiate yourself with The Leader.

We all know Shaik was released because that is what President Zuma wanted. The fact that the release was illegal is just by the by. It has been more than 250 days now since the parole board has first acted unlawfully and since various Ministers have condoned this unlawful actions by providing ridiculous and untrue explanations for the release, for the legal basis of the release and for the reasons not to refer the matter to the parole appeals board.

Nothing will of course be done about this flagrant disregard of the law in order to benefit the man who bribed our President, because in the world of some people the law only applies to ordinary people – not to friends of the President (especially not friends of the President who bribed that President) and definitely not to her holy highness the Minister of Correctional Services.

Wonder how long before we spot Shaik having tea with President Zuma and Julius Malema? Another 250 days perhaps?

2015 Constitutionally Speaking | website created by Idea in a Forest