Quote of the week

Over the last 150 days we have learned much about the power of the habitual in post-millennial, post-apartheid South Africa. We have heard it in the grumbling, cavilling, quarrelling and grousing about the logic (or lack of) of government decrees. We have also seen it in the defiance of logic among the many bourgeois folks who mistook their entitlement for rights, whether to go running, do yoga on the beach, surf, get takeaway coffees, or to purchase items subjected to restricted trade… We saw it in the contradictory messages relayed by official government channels, in the conflict between some experts advising government, between government officials and such experts, and in the ways in which opposition parties contradicted themselves as they opposed government proclamations.

Angelo Fick
Johannesburg Review of Books
3 April 2007

Moseneke’s pay rise

Comments made about members of Parliament have been met with anger by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) deputy Chief Whip Sybil Seaton. She took exception to Judge Dikgang Moseneke‘s “derogatory” comments about members of Parliament after he completed a review on the remuneration of public office bearers. News24 Reports:

Referring to increases given to MPs, Moseneke told a Sunday newspaper: “We found an ingenious way of getting MPs off their backsides to do some constituency work.” Seaton called his comments disrespectful and belittling of MPs. “Yes, there might be MPs who sit on their ‘backsides’ doing very little, but so too do some judges and magistrates,” she said.

The MP queried the review committee’s approval of “huge” increases for magistrates and judges. “So how does Judge Moseneke justify their increases? Will those massive salary increases help get the judiciary off their “backsides”? I don’t think so,” Seaton added.

It is rather interesting that Judge Moseneke reccommended a huge increase for himself and for the Chief Justice (more than 50% in each case). Is there not perhaps a conflict of interest here? Should he not at least have recused himself when his own salary was discussed? Then again, how many MP’s don’t spend most of the time on their “backsides” – is it 20 or maybe 30 out of 400? Can’t be much more.

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