Quote of the week

It is necessary that the integrity of the electoral process be maintained. Indeed, the acceptance of the election as being free and fair depends upon that integrity. Elections must not only be free and fair but they must be perceived as being free and fair. Even-handedness in dealing with all political parties and candidates is crucial to that integrity and its perception by voters. The Commission must not be placed in a situation where it has to make ad hoc decisions about political parties and candidates who have not complied with the Act. The requirement that documents must be submitted to the local offices of the Commission does not undermine the right to vote and to stand for election. It simply gives effect to that right and underscores the decentralised and local nature of municipal elections.

Ngcobo CJ
Electoral Commission of the Republic of South Africa v Inkatha Freedom Party
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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