Quote of the week

Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation.  This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.

KHAMPEPE J and THERON J
Public Protector v South African Reserve Bank (CCT107/18) [2019] ZACC 29 (22 July 2019)
15 February 2007

"Their spledid eland has waded too far…"

Justice Willis of the Witwatersrand Division of the High Court seemed to have had considerable fun in writing his judgment in INGLEDEW v THEODOSIOU 2006 (5) SA 462 (W). Here are some extracts illustrating his verbal gymnastics. (Thanks to Craig for pointing this out to me):

“[T]he first defendant is what the newspapers would nowadays refer to as a ‘property tycoon’ or a ‘property mogul’ (without in any way intending any disrespect to the Muslim dynasty of Mongol origin which ruled much of India in the 16th to 19th centuries).”

. . . .

“[T]he first defendant made the classic error of ‘imperial overreach’. Like a splendid eland that has waded too far into a water-hole to get the advantage of the best water, he became mired in a bog in which his situation was desperate. The predators were circling.”

. . . . .

“But facts, the significance of which may each be as light as a feather, can accumulate to create a bag so heavy that it can deliver a resounding and even deathly blow. That, in my view, has happened in this case.”

. . . . . .

“In Ex parte Coney , 1952 (3) SA 745 (SR) Quénet J (as he then was) quoted with approval Jelf J in Booth v Walkden Spinning and Manufacturing Co Ltd , [1909] 2 KB 268. in which Jelf J had said:

‘First come first served is one of the necessary axioms of this life of ours.’

With due respect to both Jelf and Quénet JJ, I do not consider this ‘axiom’ to be an axiom at all. It is not a self-evident truth. See, for example, the Oxford English Dictionary . It is, more likely, part of the enduring (and perhaps even endearing) morality of English public schoolboys. But, as anyone who has been a little boy at boarding school will know, it is a less than perfect summary of justice.”

Wonder whether Justice Willis ever attended a boarding school? Hilton? Michealhouse?

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