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)
23 September 2011

On Heritage Day

For some strange reason or another Heritage Day (which we celebrate tomorrow) has turned into national braai day. Maybe it is because South Africans often do not remember the same past and find it difficult to imagine a shared heritage. Some sing that song while others dream of life in England (or, these days, Perth).

Maybe one day, when more white South Africans become capable of imagining the lives and histories of their fellow South Africans who happen not to be white, we will be able to begin to imagine a shared heritage. But this will only happen when more white South Africans realise that their assumption that the world they inhabit is the only legitimate world, that the world they take for granted is the norm to which others must adopt, and that their views and culture are normative and natural, are quite problematic.

In any case, I though the cartoon by Jeremy Nel in The New Age today was quite funny. Happy Heritage Day.

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