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)
12 March 2007

Steinberg on Manto….

Jonny Steinberg’s thought provoking article in this morning’s Business Day is another reminder that our Minister of Health has been an utter, disgraceful disaster. It provides tangible evidence that her utterances on garlic and traditional medicine have directly led some HIV positive people to make fatal treatment choices.

Despite my fear of being thought a reactionary racist, I cannot but help wonder why people invoke the spirit of ubuntu to stop us talking about the MInister’s health, but no one invoked this spirit when the Minister gave advice to poor HIV positive people that inevitably led to their deaths.

Once again, this seems like a selective use of “culture” to stop us asking awkward questions. Questions such as: how many people have died because of the utterances of the Minister of Health? To what degree are we all complicit in these deaths for not speaking out, for not protesting at every meeting, for not dousing our Minister in fake blood, for not making a citizens arrest?

It might upset some people that we talk about the Minister’s health while she is sick, but perhaps it is slightly more upsetting that thousands of mostly poor South Africans have died needlesly because of her.

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