Quote of the week

Excluding refugees from the right to work as private security providers simply because they are refugees will inevitably foster a climate of xenophobia which will be harmful to refugees and inconsistent with the overall vision of our Constitution. As a group that is by definition vulnerable, the impact of discrimination of this sort can be damaging in a significant way. In reaching this conclusion it is important to bear in mind that it is not only the social stigma which may result from such discrimination, but also the material impact that it may have on refugees.

Mokgoro J and O’Regan J (dissenting)
Union of Refugee Women and Others v Director, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority and Others (CCT 39/06) [2006] ZACC 23
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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