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)
7 February 2007

SACP borrows from Tony Blair – really!

When Prime Minister Tony Blair became the leader of new-Labour in the early nineteen nineties, he was revered by some for the way his slogans managed to straddled the divide between the social concerns of the traditional Labour supporters and the middle class bourgeois concerns of people who voted for Margaret Thatcher.

The most famous of these slogans was that new-Labour would be “tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime”.

What a surprise then to read in the paper that the SACP, in criticizing FNB’s aborted crime campaign as hypocritical, made the following statement:

We need to be tough on crime, but we also need to be tough on the underlying causes of crime – in particular, the crisis of underdevelopment confronting around half of our population, with the aggravating circumstance of extreme inequality.

(Thanks, Marcus, for pointing this irony out to me.)

The rest of the SACP statement also largely seems to make sense to me. As is usually the case when they are not talking about Mr Jacob Zuma and the succession debate, the SACP seems rather level-headed and sensible.

“Banks in South Africa are welcome to contribute to the fight against crime… But it is important that these initiatives… be grounded in reality if they are to succeed and not falsely raise our hopes and squander the financial resources of clients and stakeholders,” the NCF said in a statement.

Many of the same points are made by Steven Friedman in the Business Day this morning.

If more people engage on this sensible level with the issue of crime because of the FNB debacle, maybe something good would have come of it after all. Meanwhile the whole saga has at least revealed that the SACP is a modern political party that is so confident of its principles that it is even prepared to borrow ideas (or at least slogans) from the arch enemy, Tony Blair.

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