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)
23 June 2008

This is Zimbabwe today

A chilling eye witness account about Zanu-PF “electioneering” published in the London Times:

Last weekend we had a big pungwe – a political indoctrination meeting – on the farm. It was after Mugabe had come to our little town of Chegutu, southwest of Harare, and addressed the crowd with threats of “war”. A pungwe starts when the shadows lengthen and the sun goes down and darkness falls over the land. It does not stop till after the sun has risen again. All our workers had to go, as well as all their wives with babies and any children over the age of 12. Some of them didn’t go; so the mob sent little bands of chanting youth militia with sticks to fetch the absentees, drag them out of their houses and beat them for non-attendance.

Through the night we heard the chanting and the slogans and the re-education speeches ringing out into the cold darkness for hour after hour after hour. On and on it went, striking fear into my heart. I got up and paced around in the cold night, listening.

When the first birds began to sing, I thought: “How can these birds sing after such a night as this?” Then the birdsong was drowned out. There was a terrible noise like a swarm of bees. I knew the beatings had begun again and I listened helpless, tormented, in fear but praying fervently.

Does one really want to form a government of national unity with such people? Does one have any other choice?

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