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
20 February 2024

On International Law and Gaza

The powerful ideology that makes us talk about Israel’s right to defend itself, and not the Palestinians’ or the Lebanese, for that matter, is racism as the core element of the broader system of settler colonial racial capitalism that law has played a significant sole in creating and maintaining. If you condemn the killing of one kind of people but not another, what makes one grievable and not the other is centuries of coding done by the marker of race that serves settler colonial racial capitalism. What I am interested in is how such markers, ‘legal categorisations’ become ones that we identify ourselves with, and how those attachments solidify our attachment to law. They make it personal, as it were.

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