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
20 December 2011

The end of the year

It has been a long year, with so many political and constitutional twists and turns that it sometimes seemed hard to keep track of events and of who is up and who is down in our politics. The latest seemingly outrageous decision of a Parole Board to release two of the Waterkloof 4 killers to house arrest is just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions made this year by various officials.

I tried to ascertain – by reading the relevant sections of the Correctional Services Act – whether the release of the 2 Waterkloof killers were unlawful, but that Act is not easy to understand and I am just about to embark on holiday and, for the time being, was defeated by the complicated provisions of that Act.

What did strike me is the manner in which this case has been reported in especially parts of the Afrikaans media. Unlike with Schabir Shailk, where the reporting focused on the possible abuse of power in ordering Shaik’s release, some Afrikaans media outlets have been treating this case as if the Waterkloof killers have been the victims of a terrible injustice. How the cold blooded killers of a homeless man can ever be seen as victims is beyond me. I guess sometimes in our society race and language solidarity trumps everything else – including considerations of justice.

In any case, this is probably my last post for the year. I will be back early in the new year. Hope all readers of this Blog have a good holiday.

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