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)
2 May 2007

"Proteas lost because of prejudice, not affirmative action"

Steven Friedman’s column in today’s Business Day will get many people hot under the collar. He argues that racist prejudice, not affirmative action, was partly to blame for the woeful performance of the Proteas at the Cricket World Cup. Monet quote:

The problem, white former players tell us, is that our team is not chosen on merit. They are right. Racial bias does hobble our cricketing progress. But the problem is not the measures designed to give black players a chance. It is prejudice that assumes, instinctively, that competence is something whites have and blacks must prove they have.

Those who doubt that South African team selection is still heavily influenced by this prejudice need to consider these questions: Why was Makhaya Ntini, the third-highest international wickettaker in our history, dropped for our first World Cup match played on a pitch which suited his bowling?

I agree with Friedman’s broader point about black people having to show competence while competence is assumed in whites. Why else would otherwise reasonably intelligent people choose Graham Smith – a petulant, overweight, insecure bully – as the Protea captain? Don’t want to sound like my mother, but the fact that he continuously chews gum on the pitch just adds insult to injury. The selectors should do some affirmative firing and send him packing.
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